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R  G.  LATHAM,  M.D.,  F.R.S., 




Printed  by  T.  E.  Metcalf,  63,  Sxow  Hill. 



Preliminary  Remarks. — Present  Populations  of  the  Bri- 
tish Isles. — Romans,  &c. — Pre-historic  Period. — The  Irish 
Elk. — How  far  Contemporaneous  with  Man. — Stone  Period. 
— Modes  of  Sepulture. — The  Physical  Condition  of  the  Soil 
— Its  Fauna. — Skulls  of  the  Stone  Period. — The  Bronze 
Period. — Gold  Ornaments. — Alloys  and  Castings.  —How  far 
Native  or  Foreign. — Effect  of  the  Introduction  of  Metals. — 


Authorities  for  the  Earliest  Historical  Period.' — Herodo- 
tus.— Aristotle. — Polybius. —  Onomacritus. — Diodorus  Si- 
culus.  —  Strabo.  —  Festus  Avienus.  —  Ultimate  sources.  — 
Damnonii.—  Phoenician  Trade. — The  Orgies. — South-East- 
ern  Britons  of  Caesar. — The  Details  of  his  Attacks. — The 
Caledonians  of  Galgacus 38 


Origin  of  the  Britons. — Kelts  of  Gaul. — The  Belgse. — 
Whether  Keltic  or  German. — Evidence  of  Csesar. — Attre- 
bates,  Belgse,  Remi,  Durotriges  and  Morini,  Chauci  and 
Menapii 58 




The  Picts.— List  of  Kings.— Penn  Fahel-  Aber  and 
Inver. — The  Picts  probably,  but  not  certainly,  Britons.      .       76 


Origin  of  the  Gaels. — Difficulties  of  its  Investigation. — 
Not  Elucidated  by  any  Records,  nor  yet  by  Traditions.- 
Ai-guments  from  the  Difference  between  the  British  and 
Gaelic  Languages. — The  British  Language  spoken  in  Gaul. 
— The  Gaelic  not  known  to  be  spoken  in  any  part  of  the 
Continent. — Lhuyd's  Doctrine. — The  Hibernian  Hypothe- 
sis.— The  Caledonian  Hypothesis. — Postulates.  ...       83 


Roman  Influences. — Agricola. — The  Walls  and  Ramparts 
of  Adrian,  Antoninus,  and  Severus. — Bonosus. — Carausius. 
— The  Constantian  Family. — Franks  and  Alemanni  in  Bri- 
tain.— Foreign  Elements  in  the  Roman  Legions.         .         .       90 


Value  of  the  Early  British  Records. — True  and  Genuine 
Traditions  Rare.  —  Gil  das. — Beda.  —  Nennius.  —  Annales 
Cambrenses. — Difference  between  Chronicles  and  Registers. 
— Anglo-Saxon  Chronicle. — Irish  Annals. — Value  of  the 
Accounts  of  the  Fifth  and  Sixth  Centuries. — Questions  to 
which  they  apply 104 


The  Angles  of  Germany  :  their  comparative  obscurity. — 



Notice  of  Tacitus. — Extract  from  Ptolemy. — Conditions 
of  the  Angle  Area. — The  Varini. — The  Reudigni  and  other 
Populations  of  Tacitus. — The  Sabalingii,  &c.,  of  Ptolemy. 
— The  Suevi  Angili. — Engle  and  Ongle. — Original  Angle 
Area 112 


The  Saxons — of  Upper  Saxony — of  Lower,  or  Old  Saxony. 
— Nordalbingians. — Saxons  of  Ptolemy. — Present  and  An- 
cient Populations  of  Sleswick-Holstein.  —  North -Frisians. 
— Probable  Origin  of  the  name  Saxon. — The  Littus  Saxoni- 
cum. — Saxones  Bajocassini. 165 


The  Angles  of  Germany — Imperfect  Reconstruction  of 
their  History— Their  Heroic  Age. — Beowulf. — Conquest  of 
Anglen.  —  Anecdote  from  Procopius.  —  Their  Reduction 
under  the  Carlovingian  Dynasty. — The  Angles  of  Thurin- 
gia .         .         .200 


Recapitulations  and  Illustrations. — Propositions  respect- 
ing the  Keltic  Character  of  the  Original  Occupants  of 
Britain,  &c. — The  Relations  between  the  Ancient  Britons 
and  the  Ancient  Gauls,  &c. — The  Scotch  Gaels. — The  Picts. 
— The  Date  of  the  Germanic  Invasions. — The  names  Angle 
and  Saxon. 219 


Analysis  of  the  Germanic  Populations  of  England. — The 
Jute  Element  Questionable. — Frisian  Elements  Probable. 
— Other  German  Elements,  how  far  Probable. — Forms  in 
-ing 232 




The  Scandinavians. — Forms  in  -by :  their  Import  and 
Distribution. — Danes  of  Lincolnshire,  &c. ;  of  East  Anglia ; 
of  Scotland  ;  of  the  Isle  of  Man ;  of  Lancashire  and  Che- 
shire ;  of  Pembrokeshire.  —  Norwegians  of  Northumber- 
land, Scotland,  and  Ireland,  and  Isle  of  Man. — Frisian 
forms  in  Yorkshire. — Bogy.  —  Old  Scratch.  —  The  Picts 
possibly  Scandinavian. — The  Normans 241 












The  ethnologist,  who  passes  from  the  history 
of  the  varieties  of  the  human  species  of  the  world 
at  large,  to  the  details  of  some  special  family, 
tribe,  or  nation,  is  in  the  position  of  the  naturalist 
who  rises  from  such  a  work  as  the  Systema  Na- 
turae, or  the  Begne  Animal,  to  concentrate  his 
attention  on  some  special  section  or  subsection 
of  the  sciences  of  Zoology  and  Botany.  If  having 
done  this  he  should  betake  himself  to  some  pon- 
derous folio,  bulkier  than  the  one  which  he  read 
last,  but   devoted  to  a  subject   so   specific  and 


limited  as  to  have  scarcely  found  a  place  in  the 
general  history  of  organized  beings,  the  compa- 
rison is  all  the  closer.  The  subject,  in  its  main 
characteristics,  is  the  same  in  both  cases  ;  but 
the  difference  of  the  details  is  considerable.  A 
topographical  map  on  the  scale  of  a  chart  of 
the  world,  a  manipulation  for  the  microscope  as 
compared  with  the  preparation  of  a  wax  model, 
are  but  types  and  illustrations  of  the  contrast. 
A  small  field  requires  working  after  a  fashion 
impossible  for  a  wide  farm  ;  often  with  differ- 
ent implements,  and  often  with  different  ob- 
jects. A  dissertation  upon  the  Negroes  of  Africa, 
and  a  dissertation  upon  the  Britons  of  the  Welsh 
Principality,  though  both  ethnological,  have  but 
few  questions  in  common,  at  least  in  the  present 
state  of  our  knowledge ;  and  out  of  a  hundred 
pages  devoted  to  each,  scarcely  ten  would  embody 
the  same  sort  of  facts.  With  the  Negro,  we  should 
search  amongst  old  travellers  and  modern  mis- 
sionaries for  such  exact  statements  as  we  might 
be  fortunate  enough  to  find  respecting  his  geogra- 
phical position,  the  texture  of  his  hair,  the  shade 
of  his  skin,  the  peculiarities  of  his  creed,  the  struc- 
ture of  his  language ;  and  well  satisfied  should  we 
be  if  anything  at  once  new  and  true  fell  in  our 
way.  But  in  the  case  of  the  Briton  all  this  is 
already  known  to  the  inquirer,  and  can  be  con- 
veyed in  a  few  sentences  to  the  reader.     What 


then  remains?  A  fresh  series  of  researches,  which 
our  very  superiority  of  knowledge  has  developed ; 
inquiries  which,  with  an  imperfectly  known  popu- 
lation, would  be  impossible.  Who  speculates  to 
any  extent  upon  such  questions  as  the  degrees  of 
intermixture  between  the  Moors  and  the  true 
Negroes  of  Nubia?  Who  grapples  with  such  a 
problem  as  the  date  of  the  occupation  of  New 
Guinea?  Such  and  such-like  points  are  avoided; 
simply  because  the  data  for  working  them  are 
wanting.  Yet  with  an  area  like  the  British  Isles, 
they  are  both  possible  and  pertinent.  More  than 
this.  In  such  countries  there  must  either  be  no 
ethnology  at  all,  or  it  must  be  of  the  minute  kind, 
since  the  primary  and  fundamental  questions, 
which  constitute  nine-tenths  of  our  inquiries  else- 
where, are  already  answered. 

Minute  ethnology  must  be  more  or  less  specu- 
lative— the  less  the  better.  It  must  be  so,  how- 
ever, to  some  extent,  because  it  attempts  new 
problems.  Critical  too  it  must  be — the  more  the 
better.  It  often  works  with  unfamiliar  instru- 
ments, whose  manipulation  must  be  explained, 
and  whose  power  tested.  Again,  although  the 
field  in  which  it  works  be  wide,  the  tract  in  which 
it  moves  may  be  beaten.  An  outlying  question 
may  have  been  treated  by  many  investigators, 
and  the  results  may  be  extremely  different.  In 
British  ethnology,  the  history  of  opinions  only,  if 


given  with  the  due  amount  of  criticism,  would  fill 
more  than  one  volume  larger  than  the  present. 

The  above  has  been  written  to  shew  that  any 
work  upon  such  a  subject  as  the  present  must  par- 
take, to  a  great  degree,  of  the  nature  of  a  disquisi- 
tion: perhaps  indeed,  the  term  controversy  would 
not  be  too  strong.  The  undeniable  and  recog- 
nized results  of  previous  investigators  are  truisms. 
That  the  Britons  and  Gaels  are  Kelts,  and  that 
the  English  are  Germans  is  known  wherever 
Welsh  dissent,  Irish  poverty,  or  English  misgo- 
vernment  are  the  subjects  of  notice.  What  such 
Kelticism  or  Germanism  may  have  to  do  with 
these  same  characteristics  is  neither  so  well  ascer- 
tained, nor  yet  so  easy  to  discover.  On  the  con- 
trary, there  is  much  upon  these  points  which  may 
be  well  tm-learnt.  Kelts,  perchance,  may  not  be 
so  very  Keltic,  or  Germans  so  very  German  as  is 
believed ;  for  it  may  be  that  a  very  slight  prepon- 
derance of  the  Keltic  elements  over  the  German, 
or  of  the  German  over  the  Keltic  may  have  de- 
termined the  use  of  the  terms.  Such  a  point  as 
this  is  surely  worth  raising;  yet  it  cannot  be 
answered  off-hand.  At  present,  however,  it  is 
mentioned  as  a  sample  of  minute  ethnology,  and 
as  a  warning  of  the  disquisitional  character  which 
the  forthcoming  pages,  in  strict  pursuance  to  the 
nature  of  the  subject,  must  be  expected  to  ex- 


The  extent,  then,  to  which  the  two  stocks  that 
occupy  the  British  Isles  are  pure  or  mixed ;  the 
characteristics  of  each  stock  in  its  purest  form; 
and  the  effects  of  intermixture  where  it  has  taken 
place,  are  some  of  our  problems ;  and  if  they  could 
each  and  all  be  satisfactorily  answered,  we  should 
have  a  Natural  History  of  our  Civilization.  But 
the  answers  are  not  satisfactory ;  at  any  rate  they 
are  not  conclusive.  Nevertheless,  a  partial  solu- 
tion can  be  obtained ;  a  partial  solution  which  is 
certainly  worth  some  efforts  on  the  part  of  both 
the  reader  and  the  writer.  Other  questions,  too, 
curious  rather  than  of  practical  value,  constitute 
the  department  of  minute  ethnology;  especially 
when  the  area  under  notice  is  an  island.  The 
date  of  its  occupancy,  although  impossible  as  an 
absolute  epoch,  can  still  be  brought  within  cer- 
tain limits.  Whether,  however,  such  limits  would 
not  be  too  wide  for  any  one  but  a  geologist,  is 
another  question. 

Now,  if  I  have  succeeded  in  shewing  that  cri- 
ticism and  disquisition  must  necessarily  form  a 
large  part  of  such  an  ethnology  as  the  one  before 
us,  I  have  given  a  reason  for  what  may,  perhaps, 
seem  an  apparent  irregularity  in  the  arrangement 
of  the  different  parts  of  the  subject.  With  the 
civil  historian,  the  earliest  events  come  first ;  for, 
in  following  causes  to  their  consequences,  he  be- 
gins with  the  oldest.     The  ethnologist,  on  the 


other  hand,  whenever — as  is  rarely  the  case — he 
can  lay  before  the  reader  the  whole  process  and 
all  the  steps  of  his  investigations,  reverses  this 
method,  and  begins  with  the  times  in  which  he 
lives ;  so  that  by  a  long  series  of  inferences  from 
effect  to  cause,  he  concludes — so  to  say — at  the 
beginning;  inasmuch  as  it  is  his  special  business 
to  argue  backwards  or  upwards.  Yet  the  facts  of 
the  present  volume  will  follow  neither  of  these 
arrangements  exactly ;  though,  of  course,  the  order 
of  them  will  be,  in  the  main,  chronological.  They 
will  be  taken,  in  many  cases,  as  they  are  wanted 
for  the  purposes  of  the  argument ;  so  that  if  a  fact 
of  the  tenth  century  be  necessary  for  the  full 
understanding  of  one  of  the  fifth,  it  will  be  taken 
out  of  its  due  order.  Occasional  transpositions  of 
this  kind  are  to  be  found  in  all  works  wherein 
the  investigation  of  doubtful  points  preponder- 
ates over  the  illustration  of  admitted  facts,  or  in 
all  works  where  discussion  outweighs  exposition. 

The  period  when  the  British  Isles  were  occu- 
pied by  Kelts  only  (or,  at  least,  supposed  to  have 
been  so)  will  form  the  subject  of  the  earlier 
chapters.  The  facts  will,  of  course,  be  given  as  I 
have  been  able  to  find  them ;  but  it  may  be  not 
unnecessary  to  state  beforehand  the  nature  of  the 
principal  questions  upon  which  they  will  bear. 

The  date  of  the  first  occupancy  of  the  British 
Isles  by  man  is  one  of  them.     It  can  (as  already 


stated)  only  be  brought  within  certain  wide — very- 
wide — limits;  and  that  hypothetically,  or  subject 
to  the  accuracy  of  several  preliminary  facts. 

The  division  of  mankind  to  which  the  earliest 
occupants  belonged  is  the  next ;  and  it  is  closely 
connected  with  the  first.  If  the  Kelts  were  the 
earliest  occupants  of  Britain,  we  can  tell  within 
a  few  thousand  years  when  they  arrived.  But 
what  if  there  were  an  occupation  of  Britain  ante- 
rior to  theirs? 

The  civilization  of  the  earliest  occupants  is  a 
question  inextricably  interwoven  with  the  other 
two;  since  the  rate  at  which  it  advanced — if  it 
advanced  at  all — must  depend  upon  the  duration 
of  the  occupancy,  and  the  extent  to  which  it  was 
the  occupancy  of  one,  or  more  than  one,  section  of 
mankind.  But  foreign  intercourse  may  have  ac- 
celerated this  rate,  or  a  foreign  civilization  may 
have  altogether  replaced  that  of  the  indigence. 
The  evidence  of  this  is  a  fourth  question. 

So  interwoven  with  each  other  are  all  these 
questions,  that,  although  the  facts  of  the  first  three 
chapters  will  be  arranged  with  the  special  view  to 
their  elucidation,  no  statement  of  the  results  will 
be  given  until  the  invasion  of  the  Anglo-Saxons, 
or  the  introduction  of  the  great  Germanic  ele- 
ments of  the  British  nation,  leads  us  from  the 
field  of  early  Keltic  to  that  of  early  Teutonic  re- 
search; and  that  will  not  be  until  the  details  of 


the  Britons  as  opposed  to  the  Gaels,  of  the  Gaels 
as  opposed  to  the  Britons,  and  of  the  Picts  (as 
far  as  they  can  be  made  out)  have  been  dis- 
posed of. 

One  of  the  populations  of  the  British  Isles,  at 
the  present  moment,  speaks  a  language  belong- 
ing to  the  Keltic,  the  other  one  belonging  to  the 
Teutonic  class  of  tongues.  However,  it  is  by  no 
means  certain  that  the  blood,  pedigree,  race,  de- 
scent, or  extraction  coincides  with  the  form  of 
speech:  indeed  it  is  certain  that  it  does  so  but 
partially.  Though  few  individuals  of  Teutonic 
extraction  speak  any  of  the  Keltic  dialects  as 
their  mother-tongue,  the  converse  is  exceedingly 
common;  and  numerous  Kelts  know  no  other 
language  but  the  English.  Speech,  then,  is  only 
primd  facie  evidence  of  descent ;  nevertheless,  it 
is  the  most  convenient  criterion  we  have. 

The  Keltic  class  falls  into  divisions  and  subdivi- 
sions. The  oldest  and  purest  portion  of  the  Gaelic 
Kelts  is  to  be  found  in  Ireland,  especially  on 
the  western  coast.  Situated  as  Connaught  is  on 
the  Atlantic,  it  lies  beyond  the  influx  of  any 
new  blood,  except  from  the  east  and  north; 
yet  from  the  east  and  north  the  introduction 
of  fresh  populations  has  been  but  slight.  Here, 
then,  we  find  the  Irish  Gael  in  his  most  typical 

Scotland,  like  Ireland,  is  Gaelic  in  respect  to 


its  Keltic  population,  but  the  stock  is  less  pure. 
However  slight  may  be  the  admixture  of  English 
blood  in  the  Highlands  and  the  Western  Isles, 
the  infusion  of  Scandinavian  is  very  considerable. 
Caithness  has  numerous  geographical  terms  whose 
meaning  is  to  be  found  in  the  Danish,  Swedish, 
Norwegian,  and  Icelandic.  Sutherland  shews  its 
political  relations  by  its  name.  It  is  the  Southern 
Land;  an  impossible  name  if  the  county  be  con- 
sidered English  (for  it  lies  in  the  very  north  of 
the  island),  but  a  natural  name  if  we  refer  it  to 
Norway,  of  which  Sutherland  was,  at  one  time,  a 
southern  dependency,  or  (if  not  a  dependency), 
a  robbing-ground.  Orkney  and  Shetland  were 
once  as  thoroughly  Norse  as  the  Feroe  Isles  or 

The  third  variety  of  the  present  British  popu- 
lation is  in  the  Isle  of  Man,  where  a  language 
sufficiently  like  the  Gaelic  of  Ireland  and  Scot- 
land to  be  placed  in  the  same  division,  is  still 
spoken.  Yet  the  blood  is  mixed.  The  Norsemen 
preponderated  in  Man;  and  the  constitution  of  the 
island  is  in  many  parts  Scandinavian,  though  the 
language  be  Keltic. 

In  Wales  the  language  and  population  are 
still  Keltic,  though  sufficiently  different  from  the 
Scotch,  Irish,  and  Manx,  to  be  considered  as  a 
separate  branch  of  that  stock.  It  is  conveniently 
called  British,   Cambrian,  and  Cambro-Briton. 

]  0  GERMANS. 

It  is  quite  unintelligible  to  any  Gael.  Neither 
can  any  Gael,  talking  Gaelic,  make  himself  un- 
derstood by  a  Briton.  On  the  other  hand,  how- 
ever, a  Scotch  and  an  Irish  Gael  understand  each 
other ;  whilst,  with  some  effort,  they  understand  a 
Manxman,  and  vice  versa.  So  that  the  number 
of  mutually  unintelligible  languages  of  the  Keltic 
stock  is  two ;  in  other  words,  the  Keltic  dialects 
of  the  British  Isles  are  referable  to  two  branches 
— the  British  for  the  Welsh,  and  the  Gaelic  for 
the  Scotch,  Irish,  and  Manx.  The  other  language 
of  the  British  Isles  is  the  English,  one  upon 
which  it  is  unnecessary  to  enlarge ;  but  which 
makes  the  third  tongue  in  actual  existence  at  the 
present  moment,  if  we  count  the  Irish,  Scotch, 
and  Manx  as  dialects'  of  the  same  language,  and 
the  fifth  if  we  separate  them. 

By  raising  the  Lowland  Scotch  to  the  rank  of 
a  separate  language,  we  may  increase  our  varie- 
ties; but,  as  it  is  only  a  general  view  which  we 
are  taking  at  present,  it  is  as  well  not  to  multi- 
ply distinctions.  I  believe  that,  notwithstanding 
some  strong  assertions  to  the  contrary,  there  are 
no  two  dialects  of  the  English  tongue — whether 
spoken  east  or  west — in  North  Britain  or  to  the 
South  of  the  Tweed — that  are  not  mutually  in- 
telligible, when  used  as  it  is  the  usual  practice 
to  use  them.  That  strange  sentences  may  be 
made  by  picking  out  strange  provincialisms,  and 

ETC.  3 1 

stringing  them  together  in  a  manner  that  never 
occurs  in  common  parlance,  is  likely  enough ;  but 
that  any  two  men  speaking  English  shall  be  in 
the  same  position  to  each  other  as  an  Englishman 
is  to  a  Dutchman  or  Dane,  so  that  one  shall  not 
know  what  the  other  says,  is  what  I  am  wholly 
unprepared  to  believe,  both  from  what  I  have 
observed  in  the  practice  of  provincial  speech,  and 
what  I  have  read  in  the  way  of  provincial  glos- 

The  populations,  however,  just  enumerated,  re- 
present but  a  fraction  of  our  ethnological  varie- 
ties. They  only  give  us  those  of  the  nineteenth 
century.  Other  sections  have  become  extinct,  or, 
if  not,  have  lost  their  distinctive  characteristics, 
wliich  is  much  the  same  as  dying  out  altogether. 
The  ethnology  of  these  populations  is  a  matter  of 
history.  Beginning  with  those  that  have  most 
recently  been  assimilated  to  the  great  body  of 
Englishmen,  we  have — 

1.  The  Cornishmen  of  Cornwall. — They  are  Bri- 
tons in  blood,  and  until  the  seventeenth  century, 
were  Britons  in  language  also.  When  the  Cornish 
language  ceased  to  be  spoken  it  was  still  intelli- 
gible to  a  Welshman ;  yet  in  the  reign  of  Henry 
II.,  although  intelligible,  it  was  still  different. 
Giraldus  Cambrensis  especially  states  that  the 
"  Cornubians  and  Armoricans  used  a  language 
almost  identical;  a  language  which  the  Welsh, 


from  origin  and  intercourse,  understood  in  many 
things,  and  almost  in  all." 

2.  The  Cumbrians,  of  Cumberland,  retained  the 
British  language  till  after  the  Conquest.  This 
was,  probably,  spoken  as  far  north  as  the  Clyde. 
Earlier,  however,  than  either  of  these  were — 

3.  The  Picts. — The  Cumbrian  and  Cornish  Bri- 
tons were  simply  members  of  the  same  division 
with  the  Welshmen,  Welshmen,  so  to  say,  when 
the  Welsh  area  extended  south  of  the  Bristol 
Channel  and  north  of  the  Mersey.  The  Picts 
were,  probably,  in  a  different  category  They 
may  indeed  have  been  Gaels.  They  have  formed 
a  separate  substantive  division  of  Kelts.  They 
may  have  been  no  Kelts  at  all,  but  Germans  or 

But  populations  neither  Keltic  nor  Teutonic 
have,  at  different  times,  settled  in  England;  popu- 
lations which  (like  several  branches  of  the  Keltic 
stock)  have  either  lost  their  distinctive  character- 
istics, or  become  mixed  in  blood,  but  which  (un- 
like such  Kelts)  were  not  indigenous  to  any  of 
the  islands.  Like  the  Germans  or  Teutons,  on 
the  other  hand,  they  were  foreigners ;  but,  unlike 
the  Germans  or  Teutons,  they  have  not  preserved 
their  separate  substantive  character.  Still,  some 
of  their  blood  runs  in  both  English  and  Keltic 
veins;  some  of  their  language  has  mixed  itself 
with  both  tongues;  and  some  of  their   customs 


have  either  corrupted  or  improved  our  national 
character.     Thus — 

1.  The  battle  of  Hastings  filled  England  with 
Normans,  French  in  language,  French  and  Scan- 
dinavian in  blood,  but  (eventually)  English  in 
the  majority  of  their  matrimonial  alliances.  And 
before  the  Normans  came — 

2.  The  Danes — and  before  the  Danes — 

3.  The  Romans. — Such  is  the  general  view  of 
the  chief  populations,  past  and  present,  of  Eng- 
land; of  which,  however,  the  Keltic  and  the  Angle 
are  the  chief. 

The  English -and -Scotch,  the  Normans,  the 
Danes,  and  the  Romans  have  all  been  introduced 
upon  the  island  within  the  Historical  period — 
some  earlier  than  others,  but  all  within  the  last 
2,000  years,  so  that  we  have  a  fair  amount  of 
information  as  to  their  history;  not  so  much, 
perhaps,  as  is  generally  believed,  but  still  a  fair 
amount.  We  know  within  a  few  degrees  of  lati- 
tude and  longitude  where  they  came  from ;  and 
we  know  their  ethnological  relations  to  the  occu- 
pants of  the  parts  around  them. 

With  the  Kelts  this  is  not  the  case.  Of  Gael 
or  Manxman,  Briton  or  Pict,  we  know  next  to 
nothing  during  their  early  history.  We  can  guess 
where  they  came  from,  and  we  can  infer  their 
ethnological  relations;  but  history,  in  the  strict 
sense  of  the  term,  we  have  none;  for  the  Keltic 


period  differs  from  that  of  all  the  others  in  being 
pre-historic.  This  is  but  another  way  of  saying 
that  the  Keltic  populations,  and  those  only,  are 
the  aborigines  of  the  island ;  or,  if  not  aboriginal, 
the  earliest  known.  Yet  it  is  possible  that  these 
same  Keltic  populations,  whose  numerous  tribes 
and  clans  and  nations  covered  both  the  British 
and  the  Hibernian  Isles  for  generations  and  gene- 
rations before  the  discovery  of  the  art  of  writing, 
or  the  existence  of  a  historical  record,  may  be  as 
well  understood  as  their  invaders;  since  ethno- 
logy infers  where  history  is  silent,  and  history, 
even  when  speaking,  may  be  indistinct.  At  any 
rate,  the  previous  notice  of  the  ethnology  of  the 
British  Isles  during  the  Historical  period,  prepares 
us  with  a  little  light  for  the  dark  walk  in  the 
field  of  its  earliest  antiquity. 

Nothing,  as  has  just  been  stated,  in  the  earliest 
historical  records  of  Britain,  throws  any  light 
upon  the  original  occupation  of  the  British  Islands 
by  man;  indeed,  nothing  tells  us  that  Britain, 
when  so  occupied,  was  an  island  at  all.  The 
Straits  of  Dover  may  have  existed  when  the  first 
human  being  set  foot  upon  what  is  now  the  soil 
of  Kent,  or  an  isthmus  may  have  existed  instead. 
Whether  then  it  was  by  land,  or  whether  it  was 
by  water,  that  the  population  of  Europe  propa- 
gated itself  into  England,  is  far  beyond  the  evi- 
dence of  any  historical  memorial — far  beyond  the 


evidence  of  tradition.  Nothing  at  present  indi- 
cates the  nature  of  the  primary  migration  of  our 
earliest  ancestors.  Neither  does  any  historical  re- 
cord tell  us  what  manner  of  men  first  established 
themselves  along  the  valleys  of  the  Thames  and 
Trent,  or  cleared  the  forests  along  their  water- 
sheds. They  may  have  been  as  much  ruder  than 
the  rudest  of  the  tribes  seen  by  Paulinus  and 
Agricola,  as  those  tribes  were  ruder  than  our- 
selves. They  may,  on  the  other  hand,  have  en- 
joyed a  higher  civilization,  a  civilization  which 
Caesar  saw  in  its  later  stages  only;  one  which 
Gallic  wars,  and  other  evil  influences,  may  have 

For  the  consideration  of  such  questions  as  these 
it  matters  but  little  whether  we  begin  with  the 
information  which  the  ambition  of  Caesar  gave 
the  Romans  the  opportunity  of  acquiring,  or  such 
accounts  of  the  Phoenician  traders  as  found  their 
way  into  the  writings  of  the  Greeks;  Polybius 
(for  instance),  Aristotle,  or  Herodotus.  A  few 
centuries,  more  or  less,  are  of  trifling  importance. 
The  social  condition  in  both  cases  is  the  same. 
There  was  tin  in  Cornwall,  and  iron  swords  in 
Kent ;  in  other  words,  there  was  the  civilization 
of  men  who  knew  the  use  of  metals,  both  on  the 
side  of  the  soldiers  who  followed  Cassibelaunus 
to  fight  against  Caesar,  and  amongst  the  miners 
and  traders  of  the  Land's-end.     In  both  cases, 


too,  there  was  foreign  intercourse;  with  Gaul, 
where  there  was  a  tincture  of  Roman,  and  with 
Spain,  where  there  was  a  tincture  of  Phoenician, 
civilization.  This  is  not  the  infancy  of  our  spe- 
cies, nor  yet  that  of  any  of  its  divisions.  For  this 
we  must  go  backwards,  and  farther  back  still, 
from  the  domain  of  testimony  to  that  of  infer- 
ence, admitting  a  pre-historic  period,  with  its 
own  proper  and  peculiar  methods  of  investigation 
— methods  that  the  ethnologist  shares  with  the 
geologist  and  naturalist,  rather  than  with  the 
civil  historian.  In  respect  to  their  results,  they 
may  be  barren  or  they  may  be  fertile;  but, 
whether  barren  or  whether  fertile,  the  practice 
and  application  of  them  is  a  healthy  intellectual 

It  must  not  be  thought  that  the  use  of  metals, 
and  the  contact  with  the  Continent,  which  have 
just  been  noticed,  invalidate  the  statement  as  to 
the  insufficiency  of  our  earliest  historical  notices. 
It  must  not  be  thought  that  they  tell  us  more  than 
they  really  do.  It  is  only  at  the  first  view  that 
the  knowledge  of  certain  metallurgic  processes, 
and  the  trade  and  power  that  such  knowledge 
developes,  are  presumptions  in  favour  of  a  cer- 
tain degree  of  antiquity  in  the  occupancy  of  our 
island  on  the  parts  of  its  islanders;  and  it  is  only 
by  forgetting  the  insular  character  of  Great  Bri- 
tain that  we  can  allow  ourselves  to  suppose  that, 


though  our  early  arts  tell  us  nothing  about  our 
first  introduction,  they  at  any  rate  prove  that  it 
was  no  recent  event  "  Time,"  we  may  fairly  say, 
"  must  be  allowed  for  such  habits  as  are  implied 
by  the  use  of  metals  to  have  developed  them- 
selves, and,  consequently,  generations,  centuries, 
and  possibly  even  milleniums  must  have  elapsed 
between  the  landing  of  the  first  vessel  of  the  first 
Britons,  and  the  beginning  of  the  trade  with  the 
Kassiterides."  As  a  general  rule,  such  reasoning 
is  valid;  yet  the  earliest  known  phenomena  of 
British  civilization  are  compatible  with  a  compa- 
ratively modern  introduction  of  its  population. 
For  Great  Britain  may  have  been  peopled  like 
Iceland  or  Madeira,  i.  e.,  not  a  generation  or  two 
after  the  peopling  of  the  nearest  parts  of  the  op- 
posite Continent,  but  many  ages  later;  in  which 
case  both  the  population  and  its  civilization  may 
be  but  things  of  yesterday.  In  the  twelfth  cen- 
tury, Iceland  had  an  alphabet  and  the  art  of  writ- 
ing. Had  these  grown  up  within  the  island  itself, 
the  inference  would  be  that  its  population  was  of 
great  antiquity;  since  time  must  be  allowed  for 
their  evolution — even  as  time  must  be  allowed 
for  the  growth  of  acorns  on  an  oak.  But  the  art 
may  be  newer  than  the  population,  or  the  popu- 
lation and  the  art  may  be  alike  recent.  Hence, 
as  the  civilization  of  the  earliest  Britons  may  be 
newer  than  the  stock  to  which  it  belonged,  the 


imony  of  ancient  writers  to  its  existence  is 
anything  but  conclusive  against  the  late  origin  of 
the  —If    It  >  admit  an  absolutely 

>ric  period,  and  that  without  reservation ; 
and  as  a  corollary,  to  allow  that  it  may  have  dif- 
fered in  kind  as  well    s  degi  ee  from  the  historic. 

There  is  another  fact  that  should  be  nc 
The  languages  of  Great  Britain  are  reducible 
two  divisions,  both  of  which  agree  in  mai- 
tial  points  with  certain  languages  or  dialects  of 

.tinental  Europe.      The  Brit> 
the  Gaelic  more  distantly,  allied  to  the  ancient 
tongue  of  the  Gauls.     From  this  affinity  we  get 
an  argumen:  <t  any  extreme  antiquity  of 

the  Britons  of  the  British  Isles.    The  date  of  their 
separation  from  the  tribes  of  the  Continent  v 
not  so  remote  as  to  obliterate  and  annihilate  all 
traces  of  the  original  mother-tongue.     It  was  not 
long  enough  for  the  usual  pr-  which  lan- 

guages are  changed,  to  eject  from  even  the  Irish 
the  most  unlike  of  the  t  y  word 

and  inflection  which  the  progenitors  of  the  pre- 

t  Irish  brought  from  Gaul,  and  to  replace  them 
by  others.     So  that,  at  the  first  view,  we  have 
a  limit  in  this  direction  ;    yet   unless  we  have 
ird  certain  preliminaries,  the  limit  is  unreaL 
All  that  it  _  he  comparatively  recent 

introduction  of  the   Keltic  stock      V  -  of 

the  human  species,  other  than  Keltic,  may  have 


existed  at  an  indefinitely  early  period,  and  subse- 
quently have  been  superseded  by  the  Kelts.  Phi- 
lology, then,  tells  us  little  more  than  history  ; 
and  it  may  not  be  superfluous  to  add,  that  the 
occupancy  of  Great  Britain  by  a  stock  of  the  kind 
in  question,  earlier  than  the  Keltic,  and  different 
from  it,  is  no  imaginary  case  of  the  author's,  but 
a  doctrine  which  has  taken  the  definite  form  of  a 
recognized  hypothesis,  and  characterizes  one  of 
the  best  ethnological  schools  of  the  Continent — 
the  Scandinavian. 

For  the  ambitious  attempt  at  a  reconstruction 
of  the  earliest  state  of  the  human  kind  in  Britain, 
we  may  prepare  ourselves  by  a  double  series  of 
processes.  Having  taken  society  as  it  exists  at 
the  present  moment,  we  eject  those  elements  of 
civilization  which  have  brought  it  to  its  pre- 
sent condition,  beginning  with  the  latest  first. 
"We  then  take  up  a  smaller  question,  and  con- 
sider what  arts  and  what  forms  of  knowledge — 
what  conditions  of  society — existing  amongst  the 
earlier  populations  have  been  lost  or  superseded 
with  ourselves.  The  result  is  an  approximation 
to  the  state  of  things  in  the  infancy  of  our  spe- 
cies. We  subtract  (for  instance)  from  the  sum  of 
our  present  means  and  appliances  such  elements 
as  the  knowledge  of  the  power  of  steam,  the  art 
of  printing,  and  gunpowder ;  all  which  we  can  do 
under  the  full  light  of  history.    Stripped  of  these, 


society  takes  a  ruder  shape.  But  it  is  still  not 
rude  enough  to  be  primitive.  There  are  parts  of 
the  earth's  surface,  at  the  present  moment,  where 
the  metals  are  unknown.  There  was,  probably,  a 
time  when  they  were  known  nowhere.  Hence,  the 
influences  of  such  a  knowledge  as  this  must  be 
subtracted.  And  then  come  weaving  and  pot- 
tery, the  ruder  forms  of  domestic  architecture,  and 
boat-building,  lime-burning,  dyeing,  tanning,  and 
the  fermentation  of  liquors.  When  and  where 
were  such  arts  as  these  wanting  to  communities? 
No  man  can  answer  this ;  yet  our  methods  of  in- 
vestigation require  that  the  question  should  be 

Other  questions,  too,  which  cannot  be  answered 
must  be  suggested,  since  they  serve  to  exhibit  the 
trains  of  reasoning  that  depend  upon  them.  Was 
Britain  (a  question  already  indicated)  cut  off 
from  Gaul  by  the  Straits  of  Dover  when  it  was 
first  peopled?  If  it  were,  the  civilization  required 
for  the  building  of  a  boat  must  have  been  one  of 
the  attributes  of  the  first  aborigines;  so  that, 
whatever  else  in  the  way  of  civilization  may  hav 
been  evolved  on  British  ground,  the  art  of  hoi 
lowing  a  tree,  and  launching  it  on  the  waves  wa 

Now  it  is  safe  to  say  that  the  writers  who  are 
most  willing  to  assign  a  high  antiquity  to  the 
first  occupation  of  the  British  Isles  by  Man,  have 



never  carried  their  epoch  so  high  as  the  time 
when  Britain  and  Gaul  were  joined  by  an  isthmus. 
On  the  contrary,  they  all  argue  as  if  the  islands 
were  as  insular  as  they  are  at  present,  and  attri- 
bute to  the  first  settlers  the  construction  and 
management  of  some  frail  craft — rude,  of  course, 
but  still  a  seaworthy  piece  of  mechanism — after 
the  fashion  of  the  boats  of  Gaul  or  Germany ;  and 
this  is  the  reasonable  view  of  the  subject. 

In  Mr.  Daniel  Wilson's  "  Pre-historic  Annals  of 
Scotland/'  we  have  the  best  data  for  the  next 
portion  of  the  question,  viz.,  the  extent  to  which 
geological  changes  have  occurred  since  the  first 
occupancy  of  our  islands.  In  the  valley  of  the 
Forth,*  alterations  in  the  relations  of  the  land 
and  sea  to  the  amount  of  twenty-five  feet  have 
occurred  since  the  art  of  making  deers'  horns  into 
harpoons  was  known  in  Scotland.  Such  at  least 
is  the  inference  from  the  discovery,  in  the  Carse 
lands  about  Blair  Drummond  Moss,  of  the  ske- 
leton of  a  whale,  with  a  harpoon  beside  it,  twenty- 
five  feet  above  the  present  tides  of  the  Forth.  As 
much  as  can  be  told  by  any  single  fact  is  told  by 
this ;  its  valuation  being  wholly  in  the  hands  of 
the  geologists. 

Then,  the  bone  of  an  Irish  elk,  according  to  one 
view  (but  not  according  to  another),  gives  us  a 
second  fact.     A  rib,  with  an  oval  opening,  where 

*  See  Wilson's  "  Pre-historic  Annals  of  Scotland." 


oval  openings  should  not  be,  and  with  an  irregu- 
lar effusion  of  callus  around  it,  is  found  under 
eleven  feet  of  peat.  Dr.  Hart  attributes  this  to  a 
sharp-pointed  instrument,  wielded  by  a  human 
hand,  which  without  penetrating  deep  enough  to 
cause  death,  effected  a  breach  on  the  continuity 
of  the  bone,  and  caused  inflammation  to  be  set 
up.  But  Professor  Owen  thinks  that  a  weapon 
of  the  kind  in  question,  if  left  in,  to  be  worked 
out  by  the  vix  medicatrix  of  Nature,  would  be 
fatal,  and  consequently  he  prefers  the  notion  of 
the  wound  having  been  inflicted  by  a  weapon 
which  was  quickly  withdrawn,  e.  g.,  the  horn  of 
some  combative  rival  of  its  own  kind,  rather  than 
the  human.  Now  if  it  be  a  difficult  matter  to  say 
what  will,  and  what  will  not  kill  a  man  in  the 
year  '52,  much  more  so  is  it  to  speak  chirurgically 
about  Irish  elks  of  the  Pleiocene  period.  Hence 
the  evidence  of  man  having  been  cotemporary 
with  the  Megaceros  Hibernicus  is  unsatisfactory. 

That  a  certain  amount,  then,  of  change  of  level 
between  the  land  and  sea,  in  a  certain  part  of 
Scotland,  has  taken  place  since  Scotchmen  first 
hunted  whales  is  the  chief  fact,  relative  to  the 
date  of  our  introduction,  that  we  get  from  geo- 
logy. From  archaeology  we  learn  something 
more.  Those  sepulchral  monuments  which  have 
the  clearest  and  most  satisfactory  signs  of  anti- 
quity, contain  numerous  implements  of  stone  and 

STONE  AGE.  23 

bone,  but  none  of  metal.  When  metal  is  found, 
the  concomitant  characters  of  the  tomb  in  which 
it  occurs,  indicate  a  later  period.  If  so,  it  is  a 
fair  inference  for  the  ethnological  archaBologist 
to  conclude,  that  although  the  earliest  colonists 
reached  Britain  late  enough  to  avail  themselves 
of  boats,  their  migration  was  earlier  than  the  dif- 
fusion of  the  arts  of  metallurgy.  And  this  has  in- 
duced the  best  investigators  to  designate  the  ear- 
liest  stage  in  British  ethnology  by  the  name  of  the 
Stone  Peeiod,  a  technical  and  convenient  term. 

It  is  the  general  opinion,  that  during  this  pe- 
riod the  practice  of  inhumation,  or  simple  burial, 
was  commoner  than  that  of  cremation  or  burning, 
though  each  method  was  adopted.  Over  the  re- 
mains disposed  of  by  the  former  process,  were 
erected  mounds  of  earth  (tumuM  or  barrows),  heaps 
of  stone  (cairns),  or  cromlechs.  There  are  strong 
suspicions  that  the  practice  of  Sutti  was  recog- 
nized. Around  a  skeleton,  more  or  less  entire, 
are  often  found,  at  regular  distances,  the  ashes  of 
bodies  that  were  burnt ;  just  as  if  the  chief  was 
interred  in  the  flesh,  but  his  subordinates  given 
over  to  the  flames.  The  posture  is,  frequently, 
one  which,  on  the  other  side  of  the  Atlantic,  has 
called  forth  numerous  remarks.  Throughout  Ame- 
rica, it  was  observed  by  Dr.  Morton,  that  one  of 
the  most  usual  forms  of  burial  was  to  place  the 
corpse  in  a  half  upright  position,  or  a  sitting  atti- 

24  STONE  AGE, 

tude,  with  the  knees  and  hams  bent,  and  the 
arms  folded  on  the  legs.  Now  this  is  a  common 
posture  in  Britain — a  clear  proof  of  the  extent  to 
which  similar  practices  are  independent  of  imita- 
tion. If  any  ornaments  be  found  with  the  corpse, 
they  are  chiefly  of  cannel  coal.  The  implements 
are  all  of  stone,  or  bone — the  celt,  the  arrow,  the 
spear-head,  the  adze,  and  the  mallet. 

What  was  the  physical  aspect  of  the  country  at 
this  time?  The  present,  minus  the  clearings — 
wood  and  fen,  fen  and  wood,  in  interminable  suc- 
cession ;  woods  of  oak  in  the  clay  soils ;  of  beech 
on  the  chalk ;  of  birch,  pine,  and  fir  in  the  north- 
ern parts  of  the  island.  The  boats  were  essen- 
tially monoxyla,  i.  e.,  single  trees  hollowed  out, 
sometimes  by  stone  adzes,  oftener  by  fire.  The 
chief  dresses  were  the  skins  of  beasts. 

Such  is  what  archaeology  tells  us.  The  other 
questions  belong  to  the  naturalist.  What  was  the 
ancient  Fauna?  Whether  the  earliest  men  were 
cotemporaneous  with  the  latest  of  the  extinct 
quadrupeds,  has  been  already  asked — the  answer 
being  doubtful.  How  far  the  earliest  beasts  of 
chase  and  domestication  were  the  same  as  the  pre- 
sent, is  a  fresh  question.  The  sheep  may  reasonably 
be  considered  as  a  recent  introduction;  but  with  all 
the  other  domestic  animals  there  are,  perhaps,  as 
good  reasons  for  deriving  them  from  native  spe- 
cies as  for  considering  them  to  be  of  foreign  origin. 

STONE  AGE.  25 

The  hog  of  the  present  breed,  may  indeed  be  of 
continental  origin ;  so  may  the  present  cat,  horse, 
and  ass.  Nevertheless,  the  hog,  cat,  horse,  and 
ass,  whose  bones  are  found  in  the  alluvial  depo- 
sits, may  have  been  domesticated.  The  Devon- 
shire, Hereford,  and  similar  breeds  of  oxen  may 
be  new;  but  the  bos  longifrons  may  have  origi- 
nated some  native  breeds,  which  the  inhabitants 
of  even  the  earliest  period — the  period  of  stone 
and  bone  implements — may  have  domesticated. 
The  opinion  of  Professor  Owen  is  in  favour  of  this 
view;  and  certainly,  though  it  cannot  be  enforced 
by  mere  authority,  it  is  recommended  by  its  sim- 
plicity,— avoiding,  as  it  does,  the  unnecessary 
multiplication  of  causes.  The  goat  was  certainly 
indigenous,  but  no  more  certainly  domesticated 
than  the  equally  indigenous  deer.  This  indigenous 
rein-deer  may  or  may  not  have  been  trained.  The 
miserable  aliments  of  the  beach,  shell-fish  and  Crus- 
tacea, constituted  no  small  part  of  the  earliest 
human  food ;  and  so  (for  the  northern  part  of  the 
isle  at  least)  did  eggs,  seals,  and  whales.  Surely 
in  these  primitive  portions  of  the  Stone  period  our 
habits  must  have  approached  those  of  the  Lap, 
the  Samoeid,  and  the  Eskimo,  however  different 
they  may  be  now. 

But  metals,  in  the  course  of  time,  were  intro- 
duced ;  first  bronze,  and  then  iron ;  gold  and  lead 
being,   perhaps,  earlier   than  either,   earlier   too 

26  STONE  AGE. 

than  silver.  Of  gold  we  take  but  little  notice. 
It  was  not  a  useful  metal;  but  subservient  only 
to  the  purposes  of  barbaric  ornament.  The  next 
fact  is  of  great  importance. 

In  those  tombs  where  the  implements  are  most 
exclusively  of  stone,  and  where  the  other  signs  of 
antiquity  correspond,  the  skulls  are  of  unusually 
small  capacity.  In  the  next  period  they  are 
larger.  There  are  also  some  notable  points  of 
difference  in  the  shape.  Such  at  least  is  the 
current  opinion ;  although  the  proofs  that  such 
difference  is  not  referable  to  difference  of  age  or 
sex,  is  by  no  means  irrefragable.  Still  we  may 
take  the  fact  as  it  is  supposed  and  reported  to  be. 

If  we  do  this,  we  are  prepared  for  another 
question.  How  far  is  the  introduction  of  metal 
implements  and  of  new  arts,  a  sign  of  the  intro- 
duction of  a  fresh  stock  or  variety  of  the  human 
species?  How  far,  too,  is  the  difference  in  the 
capacity  of  the  skulls?  How  far  the  fact  of  the 
two  changes  coinciding?  The  answer  has  gene- 
rally been  in  the  affirmative.  The  men  who  used 
implements  of  bronze  were  Kelts ;  the  men  who 
eked  out  their  existence  with  nothing  better  than 
adzes  and  arrow-heads  of  stone,  were  other  than 
Keltic.  They  were  ante-Keltic  aborigines,  whom 
a  Keltic  migration  annihilated  and  superseded. 
Such  is  the  widely-spread  doctrine.  Yet  it  is 
doubtful  whether  the  premises  bear  out  the  in- 


ference — far  as  it  has  been  recognized.  I  doubt 
it  myself;  because,  admitting  (for  the  sake  of 
argument)  that  there  is  a  difference  in  the  size 
and  the  shape  of  the  skulls,  it  by  no  means  follows 
that  a  difference  of  stock  is  the  only  way  of  ac- 
counting for  it.  Improved  implements,  taken  by 
themselves,  merely  denote  either  a  progress  in  the 
useful  arts,  or,  what  is  more  likely,  some  new 
commercial  relations.  The  same  improved  imple- 
ments, if  considered  as  means  to  an  end,  denote 
an  improvement  in  the  nutrition  of  the  indivi- 
duals who  used  them.  The  bones  of  a  man  who 
hunts  stags  and  oxen  with  bronze  weapons  will 
carry  more  flesh,  and  consequently  be  more  fuller 
developed  than  those  of  a  man  who,  for  want  of 
better  instruments  than  flint  and  bone  arrow- 
heads, feeds  chiefly  upon  whale  blubber  and  shell- 
fish. Now,  what  applies  to  the  bones  in  general, 
applies — though  perhaps  in  a  less  degree — to  the 
skull.  In  the  difference,  then,  between  the  crania 
of  the  Stone  and  Bronze  periods  I  see  no  intro- 
duction of  a  new  variety  of  our  species,  but  merely 
the  effects  of  a  better  diet,  arising  from  an  im- 
provement in  the  instruments  for  obtaining  it. 
If  the  assumption,  then,  of  a  pre-Keltio  stock  be 
gratuitous,  the  question  as  to  the  date  of  our 
population  is  considerably  narrowed.  Its  intro- 
duction (as  already  indicated)  must  have  been 
sufficiently  late  to  allow  the  original  affinities  be- 


tween  the  Keltic  dialects  of  the  British  Isles,  and 
the  Keltic  dialects  of  the  European  Continent,  to 
remain  visible.  But  as  many  milleniums  would 
be  required  for  the  opposite  effect  of  obliterating 
the  original  similarity,  this  is  saying  but  little. 
All  that  it  is  safe  to  assert  is — 

1.  That  the  primitive  Britons  occupied  the 
islands  sufficiently  early  to  allow  of  the  relative 
levels  of  the  land  and  sea  on  the  valley  of  the 
Forth  to  alter  to  the  amount  of  twenty-five  feet 
— there  or  thereabouts. 

2.  That  they  occupied  it  sufficiently  late  to 
allow  the  common  origin  of  the  Gaelic  and  British 
tongues  to  remain  visible  in  the  nineteenth  century. 

This  latter  position  rests  upon  the  supposition 
that  the  early  inhabitants  in  question  were  of  the 
same  stock  as  the  present  Welsh  and  Gaels — the 
contrary  doctrine  being  held  to  be,  not  erroneous, 
but  gratuitous  and  unnecessary. 

We  are  now  prepared  to  find  that  in  certain 
monuments,  less  ancient  than  those  of  the  Stone 
period,  the  enclosed  relics  are  of  metal,  and  that 
this  metal  is  an  alloy  of  copper  and  tin — bronze — 
not  brass,  which  is  an  alloy]  of  copper  and  zinc. 
Not  only  are  such  relics  more  elaborate  in  respect 
to  their  workmanship,  but  the  kinds  of  them  are 
more  varied.  They  are  referable  indeed  to  the 
three  classes  of  warlike  instruments,  industrial 
implements,    and   personal   ornaments,    but   the 


varieties  of  each  sort  are  comparatively  numer- 
ous. Swords  and  shields,  which  would  be  well- 
nigh  impossible  accoutrements  during  the  Stone 
period,  now  come  into  use ;  so  do  moulds  for 
casting,  as  well  as  bracelets  and  necklaces.  In 
short,  the  signs  of  a  higher  civilization  and  fresh 
means  for  the  conquest  of  either  Man  or  Nature 

The  evidence  that  the  Bronze  period  succeeded 
the  Stone,  is  on  the  whole  satisfactory;  indeed  its 
a  priori  likelihood  is  so  great,  as  to  make  a  little 
go  a  long  way.  At  the  same  time,  it  must  not  be 
supposed  that  in  each  individual  case  the  newest 
monuments  wherein  we  find  bone  and  stone  are 
older  than  the  oldest  wherein  we  find  bronze. 
No  line  of  demarcation  thus  trenchant  can  be 
drawn ;  and  no  proofs  of  absolute  succession  thus 
conclusive  can  be  discovered.  Upon  the  whole, 
however,  there  was  a  time  when  the  early  Britons 
were  in  the  position  of  the  South  Sea  Islanders 
when  first  discovered,  i.  e.,  ignorant  of  the  use  of 
metals.  As  long  as  the  arts  of  metallurgy  are 
unknown,  the  notice  of  the  physical  conditions  of 
the  country  is  confined  to  its  Flora,  its  Fauna, 
and  its  stone  quarries.  What  was  there  to  culti- 
vate? What  was  there  to  hunt  or  to  domesti- 
cate? What  was  there  to  build  with?  Now, 
however,  the  questions  change.  What  were  the 
mineral  resources  of  the  soil?      It  is  not  neces- 


sary  to  enlarge  on  these.  The  use  of  coal  as  a 
fuel  is  wholly  recent.  On  the  other  hand,  cer- 
tain varieties  of  it  were  used  as  ornaments — the 
cannel  coal,  and  the  bituminous  shale  of  Dorset- 
shire (Kimmeridge  clay).     So  was  jet. 

The  metal  first  worked  was  gold;  and  its  use 
dates  as  far  back  as  the  Stone  period;  indeed  it 
may  belong  to  the  very  earliest  age  of  our  island ; 
since  the  localities  where  it  has  been  found  in 
Great  Britain  are  by  no  means  few ;  and  in  early 
times  each  was  richer  than  at  present.  In  Eng- 
land, from  Alston  Moor;  in  Scotland,  from  the 
head -waters  of  the  Clyde;  and  in  Ireland,  from 
the  Avonmore,  gold  for  the  adornment  of  even 
the  hunters  of  the  bone  spear-head,  and  the  woods- 
men of  the  stone-hatchet  might  have  been  pro- 
cured ;  and  the  simple  art  of  working  it,  although 
it  may  possibly  have  been  Gallic  in  origin,  may 
quite  as  easily  have  been  native.  The  chief  gold 
ornaments,  tores,  armillse,  and  fibulas  have  been 
found  in  association  with  bronze  articles,  but  not 

With  those  archaeologists  and  ethnologists  who 
believe  that  the  introduction  of  bronze  imple- 
ments coincided  with  the  advent  of  a  new  variety 
of  mankind,  the  question  whether  the  art  of  alloy- 
ing and  casting  metals  was  of  native  or  foreign 
origin,  is  a  verbal  one;  since  it  was  native  or 
foreign  just  as  we  define  the  term — native  to  the 


stock  which  introduced  it  on  the  British  soil, 
foreign  to  the  soil  itself.  But  as  soon  as  we  de- 
mur to  the  notion  that  the  earliest  Britons  were 
a  separate  and  peculiar  stock,  and  commit  our- 
selves to  the  belief  that  they  were  simply  Kelts  in 
a  ruder  condition,  the  problem  presents  itself  in  a 
different  and  more  important  form.  Was  the  art 
of  making  an  alloy  of  tin  and  copper  self-evolved, 
or  was  it  an  art  which  foreign  commerce  intro- 
duced? Was  the  art  of  casting  such  alloys  British? 
It  is  well  to  keep  the  two  questions  separate. 
The  preliminary  facts  in  respect  to  the  history 
of  the  bronze  metallurgy  are  as  follows : — 

1.  The  peculiar  geographical  distribution  of  tin, 
which  of  all  the  metals  of  any  wide  practical  uti- 
lity is  found  in  the  fewest  localities,  those  locali- 
ties being  far  apart,  e.  g.  Britain  and  Malacca — 

2.  The  wide  extent  of  country  over  which 
bronze  implements  are  found.  Except  in  Nor- 
way and  Sweden,  where  the  use  of  iron  seems  to 
have  immediately  followed  that  of  stone  and  bone, 
they  have  been  found  all  over  Europe — 

3.  The  narrow  limits  to  the  proportions  of  alloy 
— nine-tenths  copper,  and  one-tenth  tin — there  or 
thereabouts — in  the  majority  of  cases. 

4.  The  considerable  amount  of  uniformity  in 
the  shape  of  even  those  implements  wherein  a 
considerable  variety  of  form  is  admissible.  Thus 
the  bronze  sword — a  point  hereafter  to  be  no- 

32  BRONZE   AGE. 

ticed — is  almost  always  long,  leaf-shaped,  point- 
ed, and  without  a  handle. 

The  last  three  of  these  facts  suggest  the  notion 
that  bronze  metallurgy  originated  with  a  single 
population;  the  first,  that  that  population  was 
British.  Yet  neither  of  these  inferences  is  unim- 

The  notion  that  the  bronze  implements  them- 
selves were  made  in  any  single  country,  and  thence 
diffused  elsewhere,  has  but  few  upholders  ;  since, 
in  most  of  the  countries  where  they  have  been 
found,  the  moulds  for  making  them  have  been 
found  also.  Hence  the  doctrine  that  the  raw 
material — the  mixed  metal  only — was  brought 
from  some  single  source  is  the  more  important 
one.  Yet  chemical  investigations  have  modified 
even  this.*  The  proportions  in  question  are  the 
best,  and  they  are  easily  discovered  to  be  so. 
Seven  parts  copper  to  one  of  tin  has  been  shewn 
by  experiment  to  be  too  brittle,  and  fifteen  parts 
copper  to  one  of  tin  too  soft,  for  use.  Within 
these  proportions  the  chief  analyses  of  the  ancient 
bronze  implements  range.  The  exact  proportion 
of  ten  copper  to  one  of  tin,  Mr.  Wilson  has  shewn 
to  be  an  overstatement.  All  then  that  we  are 
warranted  to  infer  is,  that  Britain  was  the  chief 
source  of  the  tin. 

*  This  is  well  worked  out  by  Mr.  Wilson,  in  his  "  Pre-historic 
Annals  of  Scotland."— Pp.  238  &c. 


This  is  a  great  fact  in  the  annals  of  our  early 
commerce,  but  not  necessarily  of  much  import- 
ance in  the  natural  history  of  our  inventions ;  since 
it  by  no  means  follows  that  because  Cornwall 
supplied  tin  to  such  adventurous  merchants  as 
sought  to  buy  it,  it  therefore  discovered  the  art 
of  working  it. 

The  chief  reason  for  believing  that  the  art  of 
working  in  any  metal  except  gold  was  as  foreign 
to  Britain  as  the  alphabet  was  to  Greece,  rests  on 
a  negative  fact,  of  which  too  little  notice  has  been 
taken.  Copper  is  a  metal  of  which  England  pro- 
duces plenty.  It  is  a  metal,  too,  which  is  the 
easiest  worked  of  all,  except  gold  and  lead.  It  is 
the  metal  which  savage  nations,  such  as  some  of 
the  American  Indians,  work  when  they  work  no 
other ;  and,  lastly,  it  is  a  metal  of  which,  in  its 
unalloyed  state,  no  relics  have  been  found  in 
England.  Stone  and  bone  first ;  then  bronze  or 
copper  and  tin  combined ;  but  no  copper  alone.  I 
cannot  get  over  this  hiatus — cannot  imagine  a 
metallurgic  industry  beginning  with  the  use  of 
alloys.  Such  a  phenomenon  is  a  plant  without  the 
seed  ;  and,  as  such,  indicates  transplantation  ra- 
ther than  growth. 

This  view  assists  us  in  our  chronology.  If  the 
art  of  working  in  bronze  be  a  native  and  inde- 
pendent development,  its  antiquity  may  be  of  any 
amount — going  back  to  3000  B.C.  as  easily  as  to 


2000  B.C.,  and  to  2000  B.c.  as  easily  as  to  1000  B.C. 
It  may  be  of  any  age  whatever,  provided  only 
that  it  be  later  than  the  Stone  period.  But  if  it 
be  an  exotic  art,  it  must  be  subsequent  to  the 
rise  of  the  Phoenician  commerce.  Such  I  believe 
to  have  been  the  case.  That  the  Britons  were  apt 
learners,  and  that  they  soon  made  the  art  their 
own,  is  likely.  The  existence  of  bronze  and  stone 
moulds  for  adzes  and  celts  proves  this. 

The  effects  of  the  introduction  of  metal  imple- 
ments would  be  two-fold.  It  would  act  on  the 
social  state  of  the  occupants  of  the  British  Isles, 
and  act  on  the  physical  condition  of  the  soil.  The 
opportunities  of  getting  stones  and  bones  for  the 
purposes  of  warfare,  would  be  pretty  equally  di 
tributed  over  the  islands,  so  that  the  means 
attack  and  defence  would  be  pretty  equal  through 
out ;  but  the  use  of  bronze  would  give  a  vast  pre 
ponderance  of  power  to  certain  districts,  Cornwall, 
Wales,  and  the  copper  countries.  The  vast  forests, 
too,  upon  which  stone  hatchets  would  have  but 
little  effect,  would  be  more  easily  cleared,  and 
their  denizens  would  be  more  successfully  hunted. 

Amber  ornaments  are  found  along  with  the 
implements  of  bronze.  Do  these  imply  foreign 
commerce — commerce  with  the  tribes  of  Courland 
and  Prussia — the  pre-eminent  amber  localities? 
Not  necessarily.  Amber,  in  smaller  quantities, 
is  found  in  Britain. 



Glass  beads,  too,  are  found.  This,  I  think,  does 
imply  commerce.  At  any  rate,  I  am  slow  to  be- 
lieve that  the  art  of  fusing  glass  was  of  indigenous 
growth.  The  use  of  it  was,  most  probably,  a  con- 
comitant of  the  tin  trade. 

Undoubted  specimens  of  weaving  and  un- 
doubted specimens  of  pottery,  occur  during  the 
Bronze  period.  Lead,  too,  is  found  in  some  of  the 
bronze  alloys ;  the  word  itself  being,  apparently, 
of  Keltic  origin.  Whether  the  same  could  not  be 
referred  to  the  Stone  period  is  uncertain.  It  is 
probable,  however,  that  whilst  the  implements 
were  of  stone  and  bone,  the  dress  was  of  skin. 

Nothing  has  yet  been  said  about  the  dwellings 
of  the  early  islanders.  This  is  because  it  is  diffi- 
cult to  assign  a  date  to  their  remains.  They  may 
belong  to  the  Bronze — they  may  belong  to  the 
Stone  period.  They  may  be  more  recent  than 
either.  At  any  rate,  however,  relics  of  ancient 
domestic  architecture  exist.  A  foundation  sunk  in 
the  earth,  with  stone  walls  of  loose  masonry,  and 
covered,  most  probably,  with  reeds  and  branches, 
suggests  the  idea  of  a  subterranean  granary,  for 
which  the  old  houses  of  the  earliest  Britons  have 
been  mistaken;  but,  nevertheless,  it  belonged  to 
a  house.  On  the  floor  of  this  we  find  charred 
bones,  and  enormous  heaps  of  oyster  and  mussel 
shells.  Stone  handmills,  too,  denote  the  use  of 
corn;  though  from  the  character  of  the  ancient 


Flora,  vegetable  forms  of  food  must  have  been 
rarer  than  animal. 

Iron  was  known  in  Caesar's  time.  How  much 
earlier  is  doubtful.  So  was  silver.  Both  were  of 
later  date  than  gold  and  bronze;  and  more  than 
this  it  is  not  safe  to  say.  Of  the  great  monolithic 
buildings,  it  is  reasonable  to  suppose  that  they  are 
later  than  the  Stone,  and  earlier  than  the  Histo- 
rical, period.  Druidism,  however,  in  its  germs 
may  be  of  any  antiquity ;  not,  however,  if  we  sup- 
pose that  the  first  introduction  of  bronze  coincided 
with  the  first  introduction  of  the  Kelts. 

An  Iron  period  succeeds  the  Bronze  ;  but  it  will 
not  be  the  subject  of  our  immediate  consideration, 
inasmuch  as  it  coincides  pretty  closely  with  the 
historic  epoch.  The  sequence,  however,  requires 
further  notice.  That  there  should  be  a  period 
the  history  of  mankind  when  the  use  of  metal 
and  the  arts  of  metallurgy  were  wholly  unknot 
and  that  during  such  a  period,  imperfect  imple- 
ments of  bone  and  stone  should  minister  to  the 
wants  of  an  underfed  and  defenceless  generation,  is 
not  so  much  a  particular  fact  in  British  ethnology 
as  a  general  doctrine  founded  upon  our  a  priori 
views,  and  applicable  to  the  history  of  man  at 
large.  For  if  each  of  the  useful  arts  have  its  own 
proper  origin,  referrible  to  some  particular  place, 
time,  and  community,  there  must  have  been  an 
era  when  it  was  wanting  to  mankind.     Hence, 



an  ante-metallic  age  is  as  much  the  conception  of 
the  speculator,  as  the  discovery  of  the  investigator. 
The  order  in  which  the  metals  are  discovered, 
the  leading  problem  in  what  may  be  called  the 
natural  liistory  of  metallurgy,  is  far  more  depend- 
ant upon  induction.  Induction,  however,  has  given 
the  priority  to  copper,  just  as  is  expected  from  the 
comparative  reducibility  of  its  ores — lead  and 
gold  being  put  out  of  the  question.  So  that  it  is 
not  so  much  the  general  fact  of  the  order  of  suc- 
cession in  respect  to  the  Stone,  Copper,  and  Iron 
periods  that  the  laudable  investigations  of  British 
archaeologists  have  established  as  the  nature  of 
the  concomitant  details,  the  modifications  of  the 
periods  themselves,  and  the  exact  character  of 
their  sequence.  Under  each  of  these  heads  there 
is  much  worth  notice.  The  difference  between 
the  shape  and  size  of  the  skulls  of  the  Stone  and 
Bronze  periods  has  been  broadly  asserted — per- 
haps it  has  been  exaggerated,  at  any  rate  it  has 
formed  the  basis  of  an  hypothesis.  The  substi- 
tution of  a  Bronze  for  a  Copper  period  in  Britain 
is  an  important  modification,  mainly  attributable 
to  the  existence  of  tin.  The  comparative  com- 
pleteness of  the  sequence  is  interesting.  It  by  no 
means  follows  that  it  should  be  regular.  In  Nor- 
way there  is  no  Bronze  period  at  all;  but  Bone 
and  Stone  in  the  first  instance,  and  Iron  immedi- 
ately afterwards. 







The  extant  writers  anterior  to  the  time  of 
Julius  Caesar,  in  whose  works  notice  of  the 
British  islands  are  to  be  found,  are,  at  most,  but 
four  in  number.     They  are  all,  of  course,  Greek. 

Herodotus  is  the  earliest.  He  writes  "  of  the 
extremities  of  Europe  towards  the  west,  I  cannot 
speak  with  certainty  ....  nor  am  I  acquainted 
with  the  islands  Cassiterides,  from  which  tin 
brought  to  us."  * — iii.  115. 

Aristotle  is  the  second.     "Beyond  the  Pillai 
of  Hercules/'  he  tells  us,  "  the  ocean  flows  rounc 
the  earth ;  in  this  ocean,  however,  are  two  islam 
and   those  very  large,  called  Britannic,  Albioi 
and  Ierne,  which  are  larger  than  those  befori 
mentioned,  and  lie  beyond  the  Celti;  and  othei 
two  not  less  than  these,  Taprobane,  beyond  the 
Indians,  lying  obliquely  in  respect  of  the  main 
land,  and  that  called  Phebol,  situate  over  against 

*  The  translations  of  this  and  all  the  following  Greek  extracts 
are  from  the  " Man  amenta  Historica  Britannica." 


the  Arabic  Gulf;  moreover  not  a  few  small  islands, 
around  the  Britannic  Isles  and  Iberia,  encircle  as 
with  a  diadem  this  earth ;  which  we  have  already 
said  to  be  an  island." — De  Mundo,  §  3. 

Polybius  comes  next.  "  Perhaps,  indeed,  some 
will  inquire  why,  having  made  so  long  a  discourse 
concerning  places  in  Libya  and  Iberia,  .we  have 
not  spoken  more  fully  of  the  outlet  at  the  Pillars 
of  Hercules,  nor  of  the  interior  sea,  and  of  the 
peculiarities  which  occur  therein,  nor  yet  indeed 
of  the  Britannic  Isles,  and  the  working  of  tin; 
nor  again,  of  the  gold  and  silver  mines  of  Iberia ; 
concerning  winch  writers,  controverting  each 
other,  have  discoursed  very  largely." — iii.  57. 

Lastly  come  half-a-dozen  lines  of  doubtful  anti- 
quity, which  the  editors  of  the  " Monumenta  Bri- 
tannica"  have  excluded  from  their  series  of  ex- 
tracts, on  the  score  of  their  being  taken  from  a 
non-existent  or  impossible  author — a  bard  of  no 
less  importance  than  Orpheus.  The  ship  Argo  is 
supposed  to  speak,  and  say — 

"  For  now  by  sad  and  painful  trouble 
Shall  I  be  encompassed,  if  I  go  too  near  the  Iernian  Islands. 
For  unless,  by  bending  within  the  holy  headland, 
I  sail  within  the  bays  of  the  land,  and  the  barren  sea, 
I  shall  go  outward  into  the  Atlantic  Ocean." 

An  important  sentence  occurs  a  few  lines  lower. 
The  British  Isles  are  spoken  of — 

"  where  (are)  the  wide  houses 

of  Demeter." 



This  will  be  noticed  in  the  sequel. 

No  reason  for  excluding  these  lines  lies  in  the 
fact  of  their  being  forgeries.  Provided  that  they 
were  composed  before  the  time  of  Csesar,  the 
authorship  matters  but  little.  If,  as  is  the  com- 
mon practice,  we  attribute  them  to  Onomacritus, 
a  cotemporary  of  Mardonius  and  Miltiades,  they 
are  older  than  the  notice  of  Herodotus. 

It  cannot  be  denied  that  these  data  for  the  times 
anterior  to  Csesar  are  scanty.  A  little  considera- 
tion will  shew  that  they  can  be  augmented.  Be- 
tween the  time  of  Julius  Caesar  and  Claudius — a 
period  of  nearly  a  hundred  years — no  new  informa- 
tion concerning  Britain  beyond  that  which  was 
given  by  Csesar  himself,  found  its  way  to  Rome ; 
since  neither  Augustus  nor  Tiberius  followed  up 
the  aggressions  of  the  Great  Dictator.  Conse- 
quently, the  notices  in  the  "Bellum  Gallicum"  ex- 
haust the  subject  as  far  as  it  was  illustrated  by  any 
Roman  observers.  Now  if  we  find  in  any  writer 
of  the  time  of  Augustus  or  Tiberius,  notices  of  our 
island  which  can  not  be  traced  to  Caesar,  they 
must  be  referred  to  other  and  earlier  sources ;  and 
may  be  added  to  the  list  of  the  Greek  authorities. 

If  we  limit  these  overmuch,  we  confine  our- 
selves unnecessarily.  Inquiry  began  as  early  as 
the  days  of  Herodotus  ;  and  opportunities  in- 
creased as  time  advanced.  The  Baltic  seems  to 
have  been  visited  when  Aristotle  wrote ;  and  be- 


tween  his  era  and  that  of  Polybius  the  intellec- 
tual activity  of  the  Alexandrian  Greeks  had  be- 
gun to  work  upon  many  branches  of  science — 
upon  none  more  keenly  than  physical  geography. 

From  the  beginning  of  the  Historical  period,  the 
first-hand  information — for  it  is  almost  super- 
fluous to  remark  that  none  of  the  Greek  authors 
speak  from  personal  observation — flows  from 
two  sources ;  from  the  inhabitants  of  western  and 
southern  Gaul,  and  from  the  Phoenicians.  The 
text  of  Herodotus  suggests  this.  In  the  passage 
which  has  been  quoted,  he  speaks  of  the  Kassi- 
terides;  and  Kassiterides  is  a  term  which  a  Phoe- 
nician only  would  have  used.  No  Gaul  would 
have  understood  the  meaning  of  the  word.  It 
was  the  Asiatic  name  for  either  tin  itself,  or  for 
some  tin-like  alloy;  and  the  passage  wherein  it 
occurs  is  one  which  follows  a  notice  of  Africa. 

In  two  other  passages,  however,  the  considera- 
tion of  the  populations  and  geography  of  Western 
Europe  is  approached  from  another  quarter.  The 
course  of  the  Danube  is  under  notice,  and  this  is 
what  is  said : — 

"  The  river  Ister,  beginning  with  the  Kelts, 
and  the  city  of  Pyrene,  flows  so  as  to  cut  Europe  in 
half.  But  the  Kelts  are  beyond  the  Pillars  of 
Hercules;  and  they  join  the  Kynesii,  who  are  the 
furthest  inhabitants  of  Europe  towards  the  set- 
ting-sun/'— ii.  33. 


"  The  Ister  flows  through  the  whole  of  Europe, 
beginning  with  the  Kelts  who,  next  to  the  Ky- 
netce,  dwell  furthest  west  in  Europe/' — iv.  49. 

The  Kynetce  have  reasonably  been  identified 
with  the  Veneti  of  Caesar,  whose  native  name  is 
Gwynecld,  and  whose  locality,  in  Western  Brit- 
tany, exactly  coincides  with  the  notice  of  Hero- 
dotus. If  so,  the  name  is  Gallic,  and  (as  such)  in 
all  probability  transmitted  to  Herodotus  from 
Gallic  informants.  So  that  there  were  two  routes 
for  the  earliest  information  about  Britain — the 
overland  line  (so  to  say),  whereon  the  intelligence 
was  of  Gallic  origin;  and  the  way  of  the  Medi- 
terranean, wherein  the  facts  were  due  to  the  mer- 
chants of  Tyre,  Carthage,  or  Gades.  Direct  in- 
formation, too,  may  have  been  derived  from  the 
Greeks  of  Marseilles,  though  the  evidence  for  this 
is  wanting. 

The  two  foremost  writers  to  whose  texts  the 
preceding  observations  have  been  preliminary, 
are  Diodorus  Siculus  and  Strabo,  both  of  whom 
lived  during  the  reign  of  Augustus,  too  early  for 
any  information  over  and  above  that  which  was 
to  be  found  in  the  pages  of  Caesar.  Yet  as  each 
contains  much  that  Caesar  never  told,  and,  per- 
haps, never  knew,  the  immediate  authorities 
must  be  supposed  to  be  geographical  writers  of 
Alexandria,  one  of  whom,  Eratosthenes,  is  quoted 
by  Caesar  himself;  the  remoter  ones  being  the 


Phoenician  and  Gallic  traders.  The  thoroughly 
Phoenician  origin  of  the  statement  of  these  two 
authors  is  well  collected  from  the  following  ex- 
tracts, which  we  must  consider  to  be  as  little 
descriptive  of  the  Britannia  of  Caesar  and  the 
Romans,  as  they  are  of  the  Britannia  of  the  year 
51  B.C.  Caesar's  Britain  is  Kent,  in  the  last  half- 
century  before  the  Christian  era.  Diodorus'  Bri- 
tain is  Cornwall,  some  300  years  earlier.  "  They 
who  dwell  near  the  promontory  of  Britain,  which 
is  called  Belerium,  are  singularly  fond  of  stran- 
gers ;  and,  from  their  intercourse  with  foreign 
merchants,  civilized  in  their  habits.  These  people 
obtain  the  tin  by  skilfully  working  the  soil  which 
produces  it;  this  being  rocky,  has  earthy  inter- 
stices, in  which,  working  the  ore  and  then  fus- 
ing, they  reduce  it  to  metal ;  and  when  they  have 
formed  it  into  cubical  shapes  they  convey  it  to 
certain  islands  lying  off  Britain,  named  Ictis ;  for 
at  the  low  tides,  the  intervening  space  being  laid 
dry,  they  carry  thither  in  waggons  the  tin  in  great 
abundance.  A  singular  circumstance  happens 
with  respect  to  the  neighbouring  islands  lying  be- 
tween Europe  and  Britain ;  for,  at  the  high  tides, 
the  intervening  passage  being  flooded,  they  seem 
islands ;  but  at  the  low  tides,  the  sea  retreating 
and  leaving  much  space  dry,  they  appear  penin- 
sulas. From  hence  the  merchants  purchase  the 
tin  from  the  natives,  and  carry  it  across  into  Gaul ; 

44  STRABO. 

and  finally  journeying  by  land  through  Gaul  for 
about  thirty  days,  they  convey  their  burdens  on 
horses  to  the  outlet  of  the  river  Rhone." — v.  21,  22. 
So  is  Strabo's. — "The  Cassiterides  are  ten  in 
number,  and  lie  near  each  other  in  the  ocean,  to- 
wards the  north  from  the  haven  of  the  Artabri. 
One  of  them  is  a  desert,  but  the  others  are  in- 
habited by  men  in  black  cloaks,  clad  in  tunics 
reaching  to  the  feet,  and  girt  about  the  breast. 
Walking  with  staves,  and  bearded  like  goats ;  they 
subsist  by  their  cattle,  leading  for  the  most  part  a 
wandering  life.  And  having  metals  of  tin  and 
lead,  these  and  skins  they  barter  with  the  mer- 
chants for  earthenware,  and  salt,  and  brazen  ves- 
sels. Formerly  the  Phoenicians  alone  carried  on 
this  traffic  from  Gadeira,  concealing  the  passage 
from  every  one ;  and  when  the  Romans  followed  a 
certain  ship-master,  that  they  also  might  find  the 
mart,  the  ship-master,  out  of  jealousy,  purposely 
ran  his  vessel  upon  a  shoal,  and  leading  on  those 
who  followed  him  into  the  same  destructive  dis- 
aster, he  himself  escaped  by  means  of  a  fragment 
of  the  ship,  and  received  from  the  State  the  value 
of  the  cargo  he  had  lost.  But  the  Romans,  never- 
theless, making  frequent  efforts,  discovered  the 
passage;  and  as  soon  as  Publius  Crassus,  passing 
over  to  them,  perceived  that  the  metals  were  dug 
out  at  a  little  depth,  and  that  the  men  being  at 
peace  were  already  beginning,  in  consequence  of 

STRABO.  45 

their  leisure,  to  busy  themselves  about  the  sea,  he 
pointed  out  this  passage  to  such  as  were  willing 
to  attempt  it,  although  it  was  longer  than  that 
to  Britain."— Lib.  iii.  p.  239. 

Pliny  is,  to  a  great  degree,  in  the  same  predi- 
cament with  Strabo  and  Diodorus.  Some  of  the 
statements  which  are  not  common  to  him  and 
Cassar,  are  undoubtedly  referrible  to  the  informa- 
tion which  the  conquest  of  Britain  under  Claudius 
supplied.  Yet  the  greater  part  of  them  is  old 
material — Greek  in  origin,  and,  as  such,  referrible 
to  Western  rather  than  Eastern  Britain,  and  to  the 
era  of  the  Carthaginians  rather  than  the  Romans. 
Solinus'  account  is  of  this  character  ;  his  Britain 
being  Western  Britain  and  Ireland  almost  ex- 

A  poem  of  Festus  Avienus,  itself  no  earlier  than 
the  end  of  the  fourth  century,  concludes  the  list 
of  those  authors  who  represent  the  predecessors 
of  Caesar  in  the  description  of  Britain.  Recent  as 
it  is,  it  is  important ;  since  some  of  the  details  are 
taken  from  the  voyage  of  Himilco,  a  Carthagi- 
nian. He  supplies  us  with  a  commentary  upon 
the  word  Bemeter,  in  the  so-called  Orphic  poem — 
a  commentary  which  will  soon  be  exhibited. 

The  points  then  of  contact  between  the  British 
Isles  and  the  Continent  of  Europe,  were  two  in 
number.  They  were  far  apart,  and  the  nations 
that  visited  them  were  different.     Both,  indeed, 


were  in  the  south;  but  one  was  due  east,  the 
other  due  west.  The  first,  or  Kentish  Britain, 
was  described  late,  described  by  Caesar,  commer- 
cially and  politically  connected  with  Gaul,  and 
known  to  a  great  extent  from  Gallic  accounts. 
The  second,  or  Cornish  Britain,  was  in  political 
and  commercial  relation  with  the  Phoenician  por- 
tions of  Spain  and  Africa,  or  with  Phoenicia  itself; 
was  known  to  the  cotemporaries  of  Herodotus, 
and  was  associated  with  Ireland  in  more  than 
one  notice.  Both  were  British.  But  who  shall 
answer  for  the  uniformity  of  manners  throughout? 
It  is  better  to  be  on  our  guard  against  the  influ- 
ence of  general  terms,  and  to  limit  rather  than 
extend  certain  accounts  of  early  writers.  A  prac- 
tice may  be  called  British,  and  yet  be  foreign  to 
nine-tenths  of  the  British  Islands.  There  were 
war-chariots  in  Kent  and  in  Aberdeenshire,  and 
so  far  war-chariots  were  part  of  the  British  ar- 
moury ;  but  what  authority  allows  us  to  attribute 
to  the  old  Cornishmen  and  Devonians?  Better 
keep  to  particulars  where  we  can. 

As  the  ancient  name  for  the  populations  of 
Cornwall  and  Devonshire  was  Damnonii,  the 
Damnonii  will  be  dealt  with  separately.  It  will 
be  time  enough  to  call  them  Britons  when  a  more 
general  term  becomes  necessary.  Two-thirds  of 
the  notice  of  them  have  been  given  already  in  the 
extracts  from  Strabo  and  Diodorus,  in  which  the 


long  beards  and  black  dress  must  be  noticed  for 
the  sake  of  contrast.  No  such  description  would 
suit  the  Britons  of  the  eastern  coast. 

The  so-called  Orphic  poem  places  the  wide 
houses  of  the  goddess  Demeter  in  Britain.  Stand- 
ing by  itself,  this  is  a  mysterious  passage.  But  it 
has  been  said  that  an  extract  from  Avienus  will 
help  to  explain  it — 

■ "  Hie  chorus  ingens 

Faminei  coetus  pulchri  colit  orgia  Bacchi. 
Producit  noctem  ludus  sacer ;  aera  pulsant 
Vocibus,  et  crebris  late  sola  calcibus  urgent. 
Non  sic  Absynthi  prope  flumina  Thracis  alumnae 
Bistonides,  non  qua  celeri  ruit  agmine  Ganges, 
Indorum  populi  stata  curant  festa  Lvseo." 

There  were  maddening  orgies  amongst  the 
sacred  rites  of  the  Britons — orgies,  that  whilst 
they  reminded  one  writer  of  the  Bacchic  dances, 
reminded  another  of  the  worship  of  Demeter. 
That  these  belonged  to  the  western  Britons  is  an 
inference  from  the  fact  of  their  being  mentioned 
by  the  Greek  writers,  i.  e.,  from  those  who  drew 
most  from  Phoenician  authorities.  Avienus,  as  we 
have  seen,  thinks  of  the  Bacchae  as  a  parallel.  So 
does  Pausanius — 

"  Nee  spatii  distant  Nesidum  litora  longe ; 
In  quibus  uxores  Amnitum  Baccliica  sacra 
Concelebrant,  hederse  foliis  tecteeque  corymbis." 

So  does  Dionysius  Periegeta;  indeed  the  three 
accounts  seem  all  referrible  to  one  source.     But 


not  so  Strabo.  That  writer,  or  rather  his  autho- 
rity Artemidorus,  finds  his  parallel  in  Ceres.  "Ar- 
temidorus  states,  with  regard  to  Ceres  and  Pro- 
sepine,  what  is  more  worthy  of  credit.  For 
he  says,  that  there  is  an  island  near  Britain 
wherein  are  celebrated  sacred  rites,  similar  to 
such  as  are  celebrated  in  Samothrace  to  these 

Strabo's — or  rather  Artemidorus' — parallel  is 
the  same  as  that  of  the  Orphic  poem,  and,  proba- 
bly, is  referrible  to  the  same  source.  Damnonian 
Britain,  then,  or  the  tin-country,  had  its  orgies 
— orgies  which  may  as  easily  have  been  Phoeni- 
cian as  indigenous,  and  as  easily  indigenous  as 
Phoenician :  orgies,  too,  may  have  been  wholly 
independent  of  Druidism,  and  representative  of 
another  superstition. 

Between  the  Damnonian  Britons  of  the  Land's- 
end  and  the  Britons  of  Kent,  as  described  by 
Cassar,  there  may  or  there  may  not  have  been 
strong  points  of  contrast.  That  there  were  se- 
veral minor  points  of  difference  is  nearly  certain. 
The  a  priori  probabilities  arising  from  the  pecu- 
liarities of  their  industrial  occupations  and  com- 
mercial relations  suggest  the  view;  the  historical 
notices  confirm  rather  than  invalidate  it.  Frag- 
ments, however,  of  this  history  is  all  that  can  be 
collected.  We  have  followed  the  Alexandrian 
critics  in  the  west;  let  us  now  follow  a  personal 

BRITONS   OF   C^SAR.  49 

observer  in  the  east,  Caesar — himself  a  great  part 
of  the  events  that  he  describes.     The  Britons  of 
b.c.    Kent  first  appear  as  either  tributaries  or 
5?-    subjects  to  one  of  the  Gallic  chiefs,  Divitia- 
cus,  king  of  the  Suessiones,  or  people  of  Soissons 
in  Champagne;  so  that  they  are  the  members  of 
a  considerable  empire,  or  at  least  of  an  important 
political   confederation,  before   a   single   Roman 
plants  his  foot  on  their  island.     But  the  vassal- 
age is  either  partial  or  nominal,  nor  is  it  limited 
to  the  members  of  the  Belgic  branch  of  the  Gauls ; 
for  the  Veneti  were  a  people  of  Brittany,  whose 
name  is  still  preserved  under  the  form  Yannes, 
the  name  of  a  Breton   district,  and  who   were 
b.c.    true  Galli.     Yet,  in  the  next  year,  they  call 
56.     upon   the  Britons  for  assistance,  which  is 
afforded  them,  in  the  shape  of  ships  and  sailors ; 
the  Yeneti  being  amongst  the  most  maritime  of 
the  Gallic  populations. 

In  looking  at  these  two  alliances  it  may,  per- 
haps, be  allowed  us  to  suppose  that  the  parts 
most  under  the  control  of  Divitiacus  were  the 
districts  that  lay  nearest  to  him,  Kent  and  Herts ; 
whereas  it  was  the  southern  coast  that  was  in  so 
intimate  a  relation  with  the  Yeneti.  This  is  what 
I  meant  when  I  said  that  the  sovereignty  of  Divi- 
tiacus might  have  been  partial. 
b.c.  Caesar  prepares  to  punish  the  islanders 
55.    for  their  assistance  to  his  continental  ene- 


mies;  partly  tempted  by  the  report  of  the  value 
of  the  British  pearls,  a  fact  which  indicates  com- 
merce and  trade  between  the  two  populations. 
The  Britons  send  ambassadors,  whom  Caesar  sends 
back,  and  along  with  them  Commius  the  Attreba- 
tian,  a  man  of  the  parts  about  Artois.  Commius 
the  Crooked,  as,  possibly,  he  was  named,  from  the 
Keltic  Cam,  and  a  namesake  of  the  valiant  Welsh- 
man David  Gam,  who  fought  so  valiantly  more 
than  1300  years  afterwards  at  Agincourt.  He 
was  a  king  of  Caesar's  own  making,  and  had  had 
dealings  with  the  Britons  before ;  with  whom  he 
had,  also,  considerable  authority.  From  him 
Caesar  seems  to  have  obtained  his  chief  prelimi 
nary  information.  But  he  applied  to  traders  a 
well ;  telling  us,  however,  that  it  was  only  th 
coast  of  Britain  that  was  at  all  well  known.  H 
is  resisted  and  cut  off  from  supplies  at  landing,  and 
unexpectedly  attacked  after  he  has  succeeded  in 
doing  so.  So  that  he  finds  reason  to  respect  both 
the  valour  and  the  prudence  of  his  opponents ; 
and,  eventually  leaves  the  country  for  Gaul,  hav- 
ing demanded  hostages  from  the  different  States. 
Two,  only,  send  them. 
B>a  The  following  year  the  invasion  is  re- 
54.  peated.  In  the  first  we  had  a  few  details, 
but  no  names  of  either  the  clans,  or  their  chief. 
The  second  is  more  fruitful  in  both.  It  gives  us 
the  campaign  of  Cassibelaunus.     The  most  for- 




midable  part  of  the  British  armoury  was  the 
war-chariots.  These  were  driven  up  and  down, 
before  and  into,  the  hostile  ranks,  by  charioteers 
sufficiently  skilful  to  keep  steady  in  rough  places 
and  declivities,  to  take  up  their  master  when 
pressed,  to  wheel  round  and  return  to  the  charge 
with  dangerous  dexterity.  Meanwhile  the  mas- 
ter, himself,  either  hurled  his  javelins  on  the 
enemy  from  a  short  distance,  or  jumping  from 
the  chariot — from  the  body  or  yoke  indifferently 
— descended  on  the  ground,  and  fought  single- 
handed.  When  pressed  by  the  cavalry  they  re- 
treated to  the  woods ;  which,  in  many  cases,  were 
artificially  strengthened  by  stockades. 

About  eighty  miles  from  the  sea,  Caesar  reach- 
ed the  boundaries  of  the  kingdom  of  Cassibelau- 
nus,  now  the  head  of  the  whole  Britannic  Con- 
federacy; but  until  the  discordant  populations 
became  united  by  a  sense  of  their  common  dan- 
ger, an  aggressive  and  ambitious  warrior,  involv- 
ed in  continuous  hostilities  with  the  populations 
around.  His  name  is  evidently  compound.  The 
termination,  -belaunus,  or  -belinus,  we  shall  meet 
with  again.  The  Cass-  is  not  unreasonably  sup- 
posed to  exist  at  the  present  moment  in  the  name 
of  the  Hundred  of  Cassio,  in  Herts  (whence 

This  is  the  first  British  proper  name.  The 
next  is  that  of  the  Trinobantes — beginning  with 


the  common  Keltic  prefix  (tre-)  meaning  'place. 
Imanuentius,  the  king,  had  been  slain  in  some 
previous  act  of  aggression  by  Cassibelaunus,  and 
his  son  Mandubratius  had  fled  to  Caesar  whilst  in 
Gaul.      He  is  now  restored  npon  giving  hostages. 

In  the  list  which  follows  of  the  population 
who  sent  hostages  to  Caesar,  we  find  the  name 
of  the  Gassi;  which  suggests  the  notion  of  Cassi- 
belaunus' own  subjects  have  become  unfaithful  to 
him.  The  others  are  Cenimagni,  the  Segontiaci, 
the  Ancalites,  and  the  Bibroci. 

Caesar  seems  now  to  be  in  Hertfordshire,  west 
of  London,  i.e.,  about  Cassio-bury,  the  stockaded 
village,  or  head-quarters,  of  Cassibelaunus — Cas- 
sibelaunus himself  being  in  Kent.  Here  he  suc- 
ceeds in  exciting  four  chiefs,  Cingetorix  (observe 
the  Keltic  termination,  -orix),  Carvilius,  Taximj 
gulus,  and  Segonax,  to  attack  the  ships ;  in  which 
attempt  they  are  repulsed  with  the  loss  of  one  of 
their  principal  men,  Lugot-orix. 

The  campaign  ends  in  Caesar  coming  to  terms 
with  Cassibelaunus,  forbidding  any  attacks  dur- 
ing his  absence  on  Mandubratius  and  the  Trim 
bantes,  and  returning  to  Gaul  with  hostages. 

From  an  incidental  notice  of  the  British  boat 
in  a  different  part  of  Caesar's  boats,  we  learn  that 
those  on  the  Thames,  like  those  on  the  Severn, 
were  made  of  wicker-work  and  hides — coracles  in 
short;  and  from  a  passage  of  Avienus  we  learn 



that  the   Severn  boats   were   like  those  of  the 
Thames — 

Non  hi  carinas  quippe  pinu  texere 
Acereve  norunt,  non  abiete,  ut  usus  est, 
Curvant  faselos ;  sed  rei  ad  miraculum 
Navigia  juncta  semper  aptant  pellibus, 
Corioque  vastuni  sscpe  percurrunt  salum. 

Caesar's  conquest  was  to  all  intents  and  pur- 
poses no  conquest  at  all.     Nevertheless,  Augustus 
received    British    ambassadors,   and,  perhaps,   a 
nominal   tribute.      Probably,   this   was    on    the 
strength  of  the  dependence  of  the  Eastern  Bri- 
tons on  some  portion  of  Gaul.    At  any  rate,  there 
was  no  invasion. 
A  D        The  latter  part  of  the  reign  of  Tiberius, 
20     and  the  short  one  of  Caligula,  give  us  the 
t°     palmy  period  for  native  Britain — the  reign 
of  Cyno-belin,  the  father  of  Caractacus,  the 
last  of  her  independent  kings. 

Coins  have  been  found  in  many  places ;  but  as 
it  is  not  always  certain  that  they  were  not  Gallic, 
the  proofs  of  a  very  early  coinage  in  Britain  is  in- 
conclusive. Indeed,  the  notion  that  the  tin  trade 
— to  which  may  be  added  that  in  fur  and  salt — 
was  carried  on  by  barter  is  the  more  proba- 
ble. But  the  coins  of  Cynobelin  are  numerous. 
They  have  been  well  illustrated  ;*  are  of  gold  and 
silver  ;  and  whether  stamped  in  Gaul  or  Britain, 

*  See  the  papers  of  Mr.  Beale  Post  in  the  "Archaeological 


indicate  civilization  of  commerce  and  industry. 
The  measure  of  the  progress  of  Britain  from  the 
Stone  period  upwards,  partly  referable  to  indige- 
nous development,  partly  to  Gallic,  and  partly  to 
Phoenician,  intercourse,  is  to  be  found  in  these 
coins.  It  is  the  civilization  of  a  brave  people 
endowed  with  the  arts  of  agriculture  and  metal- 
lurgy, capable  of  considerable  political  organiza- 
tion, and  with  more  than  one  point  of  contact 
with  the  continent — their  war-chariots,  their  lan- 
guage, and  their  Druidism  being  their  chief  dis- 
tinctive characters.  Iron  was  in  use  at  this  time 
— though,  perhaps,  it  was  rare. 

The  conquests  under  Claudius  carry  us  over 
new  localities ;  and  they  are  related  by  a  greal 
historian,  with  more  than  ordinary  means  of  in- 
formation. In  Tacitus  we  read  the  accounts 
Agricola.  Yet  the  information,  with  the  exce] 
tion  of  a  few  interesting  details,  is  confirmatory 
what  we  have  been  told  before,  rather  than  sug- 
gestive of  any  essential  differences  between  th( 
Britons  of  the  interior  and  the  Britons  of  the 
southern  coast.  The  war-chariot  was  limited  to 
certain  districts.  The  rule  of  a  woman  was  toler- 
ated. The  wives  and  mothers  looked-on  upon 
the  battles  of  the  husbands  and  daughters.  They 
may  be  said,  indeed,  to  have  shared  in  them. 
Their  cries,  and  shrieks,  and  reproaches,  their 
dishevelled  hair,  all  helped  to  stimulate  the  war- 


riors,  who  opposed  Suetonius  Paulinus  in  the  fast- 
nesses of  the  Isle  of  Anglesey.  The  Druids 
added  fuel  to  the  fiery  energy  thus  excited. 
There  was  the  political  organization  that  conso- 
lidates kingdoms.  There  was  the  spirit  of  fac- 
tion which  disintegrates  them.  As  were  the 
Brigantes,  so  were  the  Iceni ;  as  were  the  Iceni, 
so  were  the  Silures  and  Ordovices.  The  same 
family  likeness  runs  throughout ;  likeness  in 
essentials,  difference  in.  detail.  In  Caledonia  the 
hair  was  flaxen ;  in  South  Wales  curled  and 
black.  The  complexion  too  was  florid,  from  which 
Tacitus  has  drawn  certain  inferences. 

The  conquests  under  Vespasian  carry  us  fur- 
ther still  into  Scotland,  and  to  the  Grampians, 
against  the  Caledonians  under  Galgacus.  The 
extent  to  which  they  differed  from  the  Britons 
is  not  to  be  collected  from  the  account  of  Taci- 
tus. We  expect  that  they  will  be  as  brave ; 
but  ruder.  Still,  the  details  which  we  get  from 
the  life  of  Agricola  are  few.  They  fought  from 
chariots,  and  their  swords  were  broad  and  blunt. 
As  the  swords  of  the  Bronze  period  were  thin 
and  pointed,  this  is  an  argument  in  favour  of 
iron  having  become  the  usual  material  for  war- 
like weapons  as  far  north  as  the  Grampians. 
The  historical  testimony  to  the  inferior  civiliza- 
tion of  the  North  Britons,  or  Caledonians,  is  to  be 
found  in  a  later  writer,  Dio  Cassius,  in  his  his- 



tory  of  the  campaigns  of  Severus.  "  Amongst 
the  Britons  the  two  greatest  tribes  are  the  Cale- 
donians and  the  Masatse ;  for  even  the  names 
of  the  others,  as  may  be  said,  have  merged  in 
these.  The  Maeatse  dwell  close  to  the  wall 
which  divides  the  island  into  two  parts ;  the 
Caledonians  beyond  them.  Each  of  these  peo- 
ple inhabit  mountains  wild  and  waterless,  and 
plains  desert  and  marshy,  having  neither  walls 
nor  cities,  nor  tilth,  but  living  by  pasturage,  by 
the  chase,  and  on  certain  berries;  for  of  their 
fish,  though  abundant  and  inexhaustible,  they 
never  taste.  They  live  in  tents,  naked  and  bare- 
footed, having  wives  in  common,  and  rearing  the 
whole  of  their  progeny.  Their  state  is  chiefly 
democratical,  and  they  are  above  all  things  de- 
lighted by  pillage  ;  they  fight  from  chariots,  hav- 
ing small  swift  horses  ;  they  fight  also  on  foot, 
are  very  fleet  when  running,  and  most  resolute 
when  compelled  to  stand  ;  their  arms  consist  of 
a  shield  and  a  short  spear,  having  a  brazen  knob 
at  the  extremity  of  a  shaft,  that  when  shaken 
it  may  terrify  the  enemy  by  its  noise  ;  they 
use  daggers  also  ;  and  are  capable  of  enduring 
hunger,  thirst,  and  hardships  of  every  descrip- 
tion ;  for  when  plunged  in  the  marshes  they 
abide  there  many  days,  with  their  heads  only 
out  of  water  ;  and  in  the  woods  they  subsist  on 
bark  and  roots ;  they  prepare,  for  all  emergen- 


cies,  a  certain  kind  of  food,  of  which,  if  they 
eat  only  so  much  as  the  size  of  a  bean,  they 
neither  hunger  nor  thirst.  Such,  then,  is  the 
Island  Britannia,  and  such  the  inhabitants  of 
that  part  of  it  which  is  hostile  to  us/' 

Of  Ireland,  we  have  no  definite  accounts  till 
much  later,  so  that,  with  the  exception  of  a 
few  details,  the  characteristics  of  the  social  con- 
dition of  that  island  must  be  inferred  from  the 
analogy  of  Great  Britain,  and  from  the  subse- 
quent history  of  the  Irish.  Now  a  rough  view 
of  even  the  British  characteristics  is  all  that 
has  been  attempted  in  the  present  chapter.  No 
historic  events  have  been  narrated,  except  so  far 
as  they  elucidate  some  national  or  local  habit ; 
and  no  such  habits  and  customs  have  been 
noted  unless  they  could  be  referred  to  some 
particular  branch  of  our  populations  ;  for  the 
object  has  been  specification  rather  than  gene- 
ralization, the  indication  of  certain  Cornubian, 
Kentish,  or  Caledonian  peculiarities  rather  than 
of  British  ones.  At  the  same  time,  the  fact  that 
all  the  occupants  of  the  British  Islands  are  re- 
fer rible  to  the  great  Keltic  stock,  implies  the 
likelihood  of  these  differences  lying  within  a  com- 
paratively small  compass. 

The  step  that  comes  next  is  the  history  of  the 
stock  itself. 






Of  the  two  branches  of  the  Keltic  stock  the 
British  will  be  considered  first,  and  that  in  re- 
spect to  its  origin. 

It  is  rare  that  the  population  of  an  island  is 
without  clear,  definite,  and  not  very  distant  af- 
finities with  that  of  the  nearest  part  of  the  near- 
est continent.  The  Cingalese  of  Ceylon  can  be 
traced  to  India;  the  Sumatrans  to  the  Malayan 
Peninsula  ;  the  Kurile  Islanders  to  the  Penin- 
sula of  Sagalin ;  the  Guanches  of  Tenerifle  to 
the  coast  of  Barbary.  The  nearest  approach  to 
isolation  is  in  the  island  of  Madagascar,  where 
the  affinities  are  with  Sumatra  the  Moluccas  and 
the  Malay  stock  rather  than  with  the  opposite 
parts  of  Africa,  the  coasts  of  Mozambique  and 
Zanguibar.  But  Madagascar  has  long  been  the 
great  ethnological  mystery.  Iceland,  too,  was 
peopled  from  Scandinavia  and  not  from  Green- 

It  is  in  Gaul,  then,  that  we  must  look  for  the 
mother-country  of  Kelts ;   at  least  in  the  first 


instance,  for  Gaul  is  the  nearest  point — the  white 
cliffs  of  Folkstone  being  within  sight  of  the  op- 
posite shore.  Yet  (as  an  example  of  the  extent 
to  which  one  ethnological  question  depends  upon 
another)  the  Gallic  origin  of  the  earliest  Britons 
has  been  objected  to.  For  a  Keltic  population, 
indeed,  it  has  been  admitted  to  be  the  natural 
area ;  but  we  have  seen  that  a  population  other 
and  earlier  than  the  Keltic  has  been  inferred 
from  the  shape  of  the  skulls,  and  other  pheno- 
mena of  the  Stone  period.  Now  for  such  a 
population  as  this,  Jutland  or  Sleswick  has  been 
considered  the  more  likely  locality,  since  the 
skulls  in  question  have  been  compared  to  those 
of  the  Laplanders  and  Finns  ;  and,  if  this  be 
true,  the  farther  north  we  carry  the  home  of 
the  British  aborigines,  the  less  we  find  it  neces- 
sary to  bring  the  Finn  or  Lap  families  south- 
ward. This  reasoning  is  valid  if  the  original 
fact  of  any  pre-Keltic  population  be  true.  Those, 
however,  who  doubt  the  premises,  have  no  need 
to  refine  upon  the  current  notion  of  Gaul  being 
the  original  home  of  the  Britons.  Gaul,  then,  is 
the  ground  from  which  we  take  our  view  of  the 
great  Keltic  division  of  the  human  species  in  its 
integrity ;  for,  hitherto,  we  have  seen  but  the 
western  offsets  of  it. 

That    the    country    between   the    Seine     and 
Garonne,  corresponding   with   the   provinces  of 

60  KELTS   OF  GAUL. 

Normandy,  Brittany,  Maine,  Anjou,  Poitiers,  the 
Isle  of  France,  and  the  Orleannois,  was  Keltic, 
has  never  been  doubted.  The  evidence  of  Caesar 
is  express  ;  and  there  is  neither  objection  nor 
cavil  to  set  against  it.  There  it  is,  where,  at 
the  present  moment,  the  Keltic  Breton  of  Brit- 
tany continues  to  be  the  language  of  the  common 

The  central  and  south-eastern  parts  of  France 
— the  Nivernois,  Burgundy,  the  Bourbonnois,  the 
Lionnois,  Auvergne,  Dauphiny,  Languedoc,  Savoy, 
and  Provence  were — chiefly  Keltic.  Perhaps  they 
were  wholly  so  ;  but  as  the  Ligurians  of  Italy, 
and  Iberians  of  Spain  are  expressly  stated  to 
have  met  on  the  lower  Rhone,  it  is  best  to 
qualify  this  assertion.  At  the  same  time,  good 
reasons  can  be  given  for  considering  that  the 
Ligurians  were  but  little  different  from  the 
other  Gauls. 

South  of  the  Garonne  the  ancient  population 
was  Iberia 

Switzerland,  or  the  ancient  Helvetia,  was 
Keltic,  and  beyond  Switzerland,  along  the 
banks  of  the  Danube,  and  in  the  fertile  plains 
of  Northern  Italy,  intrusive  and  conquering 
Kelts  were  extended  as  far  east  as  Styria,  and 
as  far  south  as  Etruria  ;  but  these  were  offsets 
from  the  main  body  of  the  stock,  whose  true 
area  was  Gaul  and  the  British  isles. 

KELTS   OF   GAUL.  61 

The  parts  between  the  Seine  and  Rhine,  the 
valleys  of  the  Marne,  the  Oise,  the  Somme,  the 
Sambre,  the  Meuse,  and  the  Moselle  were  Bel- 
gic.  Treves  was  Belgian ;  Luxumbourg,  Bel- 
gian ;  the  Netherlands,  Belgian.  Above  all, 
French  Flanders,  Artois,  and  Picardy — the  parts 
nearest  Britain — the  parts  within  sight  of  Kent 
— the  parts  from  whence  Britain  was  most  likely 
to  be  peopled — were  Belgian. 

Now,  as  Britain  was  originally  Keltic,  unless 
Belgium  be  Keltic  also,  we  shall  meet  with  a 

In  my  own  mind  Belgium  was  originally  Kel- 
tic ;  and,  perhaps,  nine  ethnologists  out  of  ten 
hold  the  same  opinion.  At  the  same  time,  fair 
reasons  can  be  given  for  an  opposite  doctrine, 
fair  reasons  for  believing  the  Belgce  to  have  been 
German — as  German  as  the  Angles  of  old,  as 
German  as  the  present  Germans  of  Germany, 
as  German  as  the  Dutch  of  Holland,  and,  what 
is  more  to  the  purpose,  as  German  as  the  pre- 
sent Flemings  of  Flanders,  possibly  occupants 
of  the  ancient,  and  certainly  occupants  of  the 
modern,  Belgium. 

Upon  the  latter  fact  we  must  lay  considerable 
weight.  Modern  Belgium  is  as  truly  the  coun- 
try of  two  languages  and  of  a  double  population 
as  Wales,  Ireland,  or  Scotland.  There  is  the 
French,    which   has   extended    itself    from    the 

bZ  THE  BELG^. 

south,  and  the  Flemish,  which  belongs  to  Hol- 
land and  the  parts  northwards  ;  a  form  of  speech 
which  differs  from  the  true  Dutch  less  than  the 
Lowland  Scotch  does  from  the  English,  and  far 
less  than  the  Dutch  itself  does  from  the  German. 
More  than  this.  South  of  the  line  which  sepa- 
rates the  French  and  Flemish,  traces  of  the  pre- 
vious use  of  the  latter  language  are  both  definite 
and  numerous,  occurring  chiefly  in  the  names  of 
places  such  as  Dunkirk,  Wissant,  &c. 

Now,  as  the  French  language  has  encroached 
upon  the  Flemish,  and  the  Flemish  has  receded 
before  the  French,  nothing  is  more  legitimate 
than  the  conclusion  than  that,  at  some  earlier 
period,  the  dialects  of  the  great  Germanic  stock 
extended  as  far  south  as  the  Straits  of  Dover  ; 
and,  if  so,  Germans  might  have  found  their  way 
into  the  south-eastern  counties  of  England  2000 
years  ago,  or  even  sooner.  Hence,  instead  of  the 
Angles  and  Saxons  having  been  the  first  con- 
querors  of  the  Britons,  and  the  earlier  introdu- 
cers of  the  English  tongue,  Belgaa  of  Kent,  Belgse 
of  Surrey,  Belgse  of  Sussex,  and  Belgse  of  Hamp- 
shire, may  have  played  an  important,  though 
unrecorded,  part  in  that  long  and  obscure  pro- 
cess which  converted  Keltic  Britain  into  German 
England,  the  land  of  the  Welsh  and  Gaels  into 
the  land  of  the  Angles  and  Danes,  the  clansmen 
of  Cassibelaunus,  Boadicea,  Caractacus  and  Gal- 

THE  BELG.E.  63 

gacus  into  the  subjects  of  Egbert,  Athelstan,  and 

Such  views  have  not  only  been  maintained, 
but  they  have  been  supported  by  important  tes- 
timonies and  legitimate  arguments.      Foremost 
amongst   the  former  come  two   texts  of  Caesar, 
one  applying  to   the  well-known  Belgae  of  the 
continent,  the  others  to  certain  obscurer  Belgse 
of  Great  Britain.     When  Caesar  inquired  of  the 
legates  of  Remi,  the   ancient   occupants,  under 
their  ancient  name,  of  the  parts  about  Rheims, 
what  States  constituted  the  power  of  the  Belgae, 
and  what    was  their  military  power,    he  found 
things  to  be  as  follows — "  The  majority  of  the 
Belgce  were  derived  from  the    Germans    (ple- 
rosque  Belgas  ortos  esse  ah  Germanus).      Hav- 
ing in   the  olden  time  crossed  the  Rhine,  they 
settled  in  their  present  countries,  on  account  of 
the   fruitfulness  of   the   soil,    and   expelled   the 
Gauls,   who   inhabited    the    parts   before   them. 
They  alone,  with  the  memory  of  our  fathers,  when 
all  Gaul  was  harassed  by  the  Teutones  and  Cim- 
bri,  forbid  those  enemies  to  pass  their  frontier. 
On  the   strength   of  this  they  assumed   a  vast 
authority  in  the  affairs  of  war,  and  manifested  a 
high  spirit.    Their  numbers  were  known,  because, 
united  by  relationships  and  affinities  (propinqui- 
tatibus  ad  finitatibusque  conjuncti),  it  could  be 
ascertained  what  numbers  each  chief  could  bring 

64  THE  BELG.E. 

with  him  to  the  common  gathering  for  the  war. 
The  first  in  numbers,  valour,  and  influence  were 
the  Bellovaci.  These  could  make  up  as  many  as 
100,000  fighting  men.  Of  these  they  promised 
40,000 ;  for  which  they  were  to  have  the  whole 
management  of  the  war.  Their  neighbours  were 
the  Suessiones,  the  owners  of  a  vast  and  fertile 
territory.  Their  king  Divitiacus  was  yet  remem- 
bered as  the  greatest  potenate  of  all  Gaul,  whose 
rule  embraced  a  part  of  Britain  as  well.  Their 
present  king  was  Gallus.  Such  was  his  justice 
and  prudence,  that  the  whole  conduct  of  the  war 
was  voluntarily  made  over  to  him.  Their  cities 
were  twelve  in  number;  their  contingent  50,000 
soldiers.  The  Nervii,  the  fiercest  and  most  dis- 
tant of  the  confederacy,  would  send  as  many; 
the  Attrebates  15,000,  the  Ambiani  10,000,  the 
Morini  22,000,  the  Menapii  9,000,  the  Caleti 
10,000,  the  Velocasses  and  Yeromandui  10,000, 
the  Aduatici  29,000  ;  the  Condrusi,  Eburones,  Cse- 
rasi,  and  Psemani,  who  were  collectively  called 
Germans  (qui  uno  nomine  Germani  appellan- 
tur)  might  be  laid  at  40,000/'— Bell.  Gall.  11,  4. 

Let  us  consider  this  as  evidence  (to  a  certain 
extent)  of  the  north  of  Gaul  having  been  German, 
without,  at  present,  asking  how  far  it  is  conclu- 
sive. If  we  look  to  Caesar's  description  of  Britain 
we  shall  find  the  elements  of  a  second  proposi- 
tion, viz.,  that  "  what  is  true  of  the  northern  coast 

THE  BELG.E.  65 

of  Gaul,  is  true  of  the  southern  coast  of  Britain/'  * 
So  that  if  the  Belgse  were  Germans  in  the  time 
of  Csesar,  the  populations  of  Kent,  Surrey,  and 
Sussex  were  German  also. 

Caesar's  statement  is,  "  that  the  interior  of  Bri- 
tain is  inhabited  by  those  who  are  recorded  to 
have  been  born  in  the  island  itself;  whereas  the 
sea-coast  is  the  occupancy  of  immigrants  from  the 
country  of  the  Belgoe,  brought  over  for  the  sake 
of  either  war  or  plunder.  All  these  are  called  by 
names  nearly  the  same  as  those  of  the  States 
they  came  from,  names  which  they  have  re- 
tained in  the  country  upon  which  they  made 
war,  and  in  the  land  whereon  they  settled." — 
B.  G.,  v.  12. 

I  submit  that  these  two  statements  would  give 
us  unexceptionable  evidence  in  favour  of  the 
Belgse  being  Germans,  and  the  south-eastern  Bri- 
tons being  Belga?,  in  case  they  stood  with  no 
conflicting  assertions  to  set  against  them,  and 
no  presumptions  in  favour  of  an  opposite  doc- 
trine ;  in  which  case  the  inference  that  Kent  was 
German  would  be  irrefragable,  and  would  stand 
thus — 

The  Belgse  were  Germans — 

*  These  are  the  exact  words  of  one  of  the  ablest  supporters  of 
the  Germanic  origin  of  the  south-eastern  Britons,  Mr.  E.  Adams, 
in  a  paper  entitled,  "  Remarks  on  the  probability  of  Gothic  Set- 
tlements in  Britain  Previously  to  a.d.  450." — Philological  Tran- 
sactions, No.  ciii. 

66  THE  BELG^E. 

The  south-eastern  Britons  were  the  same  class 
with  the  Belgse — 

Therefore  they  were  Germans. 

Such  a  syllogism,  I  repeat,  would  be  in  proper 
form,  and  the  inference  satisfactory. 

But  there  is  a  great  deal  to  set  against  both : 
so  much  as  to  make  it  extremely  probable  that 
the  utmost  that  can  be  got  from  the  first  state- 
ment is,  that  a  part  of  the  Belgse,  and  more  espe- 
cially the  Condrusi,  Eburones,  Cserasi,  and  Pae- 
mani  were  Germans  only  in  the  way  that  the 
people  of  Guernsey  and  Jersey  are  English,  i.  e., 
politically  but  not  ethnologically ;  and  that  the 
second  only  proves  that  certain  national  names 
occurred  on  both  sides  of  the  channel. 

If  we  look  at  the  numerous  local,  national,  and 
individual  names  of  the  Belgse,  we  find  that  they 
agree  so  closely  in  form  with  those  of  the  un- 
doubted Gauls,  as  to  be  wholly  undistinguishable. 
The  towns  end  in  -acum,  -briva,  -magus,  -dunum, 
and  -durum,  and  begin  with  Ver-,  Ccer-,  Con-,  and 
Tre-,  just  like  those  of  Central  Gallia;  so  that  we 
lmve — to  go  no  farther  than  the  common  maps 
Viriovi-txcum,  Minori-acum,  Origi-acum,  Turn- 
acum,  Bag- acum,  Camar -acum,  Nemet -acum, 
Catusi-acum,  Gemim-acum,  Blari-acum,  Mederi- 
acum,  Tolhi-acum;  Samaro-ftrim;  Nowio-magus, 
Moso-magus;  Yero-dunum;  Marco-durum.  Theo- 
durum;  Fer-omandui;  Coer-esi;  CW-drusi ;  Trc- 



viri — all  Gallic  compounds  on  Belgian  ground, 
and  all  forms  either  wholly  foreign  to  any  Ger- 
man area,  or  else  exceedingly  rare.  Now  it  is  no 
objection  to  this  remarkable  and  exclusive  pre- 
ponderance of  Gallic  names  in  Belgian  geography, 
to  say  that  there  is  no  proof  of  the  designations 
in  question  being  native ;  and  that,  although  they 
existed  in  the  language  of  Caesar's  informants,  who 
were  Gauls,  they  were  strange  to  the  Belgse,  even 
as  the  word  Welsh  is  strange  to  a  Cambro-Briton 
— being  the  name  by  which  he  is  known  to  an 
Englishman,  but  not  the  true  and  native  denomi- 
nation. I  say  that  all  argument  of  this  kind, 
valid  as  it  is  in  so  many  other  cases  where  it  is 
never  applied,  has  no  place  here;  since  Caesar's 
informants  about  the  Belgic  populations  were  the 
Belgse  themselves,  and  it  is  inconceivable  that 
they  should  have  used  nothing  but  Gallic  terms 
when  they  spoke  of  themselves,  if  they  had  not 
been  Gauls. 

The  names  of  the  individual  Belgic  chiefs  are 
as  Gallic  as  those  of  the  towns  and  nations,  e.  g., 
Commius  and  Diviaticus,  and  so  are  those  of 
such  Britons  as  Gassibelaunus. 

I  submit  that  this  is,  as  far  as  it  goes,  a  reason 
for  limiting  rather  than  extending  all  such  state- 
ments as  the  ones  in  question.  And  it  is  by  no 
means  a  solitary  one.  A  statement  of  Strabo 
confirms  it : — "  The  Aquitanians  are  wholly  dif- 

68  THE  BELGiE. 

ferent "  (i.  e.,  from  tlie  other  Gauls)  "  not  only  in 
language,  but  in  their  bodies, — wherein  they  are 
more  like  the  Iberians  than  the  Gauls.  The  rest 
are  Gallic  in  look  ;  but  not  all  alike  in  language. 
Some  differ  a  little.  Their  politics,  too,  and  man- 
ners of  life  differ  a  little." — Lib.  iv.  c.  1. 

With  the  external  evidence,  then,  of  Strabo, 
coinciding  with  the  internal  evidence  derived 
from  the  geographical,  national,  and  individual 
names,  it  seems  illegitimate  to  infer  from  the  text 
of  Caesar  more  than  has  been  suggested. 

Unless  we  believe  the  Belgae  of  Picardy  to 
have  been  Germans,  the  second  fact  stated  by 
Caesar,  viz.,  the  Belgic  origin  of  the  south-east- 
ern Britons  is  comparatively  unimportant,  since 
it  merely  shews  that  between  the  Britons  of 
the  south-eastern  coast,  and  those  of  the  in- 
terior, there  were  certain  points  of  difference, 
the  former  being  recent  immigrants,  and  Bel- 
gium being  the  country  from  which  they  mi- 
grated. Nevertheless,  this  introduces  a  diffi- 
culty ;  since,  by  drawing  a  distinction  between 
the  men  of  Kent,  and  the  men  of  the  Midland 
Counties,  we  are  precluded  from  arguing  that 
the  Britons  in  general  belonged  to  the  same 
class  as  the  Gauls ;  inasmuch  as  Caesar  s  < 
cription  may  fairly  be  said  to  apply  to 
Belgic  Britons  only. 

I  think,  myself,  that  Caesar's  statement  n 

THE  BELG.E.  69 

be  taken  as  an  inference  rather  than  as  evidence; 
in  other  words,  he  must  not  be  considered  to 
say  that  certain  Attrebates  and  Belgce  crossed  the 
Straits  of  Dover  and  settled  in  Britain,  but  that,  as 
certain  portions  both  of  Belgium  and  Britain  bore 
the  same  names,  a  migration  had  taken  place ; 
such  being  the  explanation  of  the  coincidence. 
Or,  if  we  suppose  Csesar  himself  to  have  been 
too  acute  a  reasoner  to  confound  a  conclusion 
with  a  fact  (as,  perhaps,  he  was),  we  may  attri- 
bute the  inference  to  his  informants.  Whoever 
is  in  the  habit  of  sifting  ethnological  evidence, 
is  well  aware  that  a  confusion  of  kind  in  question 
is  one  of  the  commonest  of  the  difficulties  he 
must  deal  with. 

At  the  same  time,  that  there  were  some  actual 
Belgae  in  Britain  is  likely  enough  ;  but  that  they 
were  a  separate  substantive  population,  of  suffi- 
cient magnitude  to  be  found  in  all  the  parts  of 
Britain  where  Belgic  names  occurred,  and  still 
more  that  they  were  Germans,  is  an  unsafe  infer- 
ence ;  safe,  perhaps,  if  the  two  texts  of  Csesar  stood 
alone,  but  unsafe,  if  we  take  into  consideration 
the  numerous  facts,  statements,  and  presumptions 
which  complicate  and  oppose  them. 

The  Belgic  names  themselves,  which  occurred 
in  Britain,  were  as  follows  : — 

a.  Attrebates. — There  were  Attrebates  both  in 
Belgium  and  Britain  ;  the  Gaelic  ones  in  Artois, 

70  THE  BELG.E. 

which  is  only  Attrebates  in  a  modern  form.  Con- 
siderable importance  attaches  to  the  fact,  that 
before  Caesar  visited  Britain  in  person,  he  sent 
Commius,  the  Attrebatian,  before  him.  Now, 
this  Commius  was  first  conquered  by  Csesar,  and 
afterwards  set  up  as  a  king  over  the  Morini. 
That  Commius  gave  much  of  his  information 
about  Britain  to  Caesar  is  likely  ;  perhaps  he  was 
his  chief  informant.  He,  too,  it  was  who,  know- 
ing the  existence  of  Attrebates  in  Britain,  pro- 
bably drew  the  inference  which  has  been  so 
lately  suggested,  viz.,  that  of  a  Belgae  migra- 
tion, or  a  series  of  them.  Yet  the  Attrebates  of 
Britain  were  so  far  from  being  on  the  coast,  that 
they  must  have  lain  west  of  London,  in  Berk- 
shire and  Wilts  ;  since  Caesar,  who  advanced,  at 
least,  as  far  as  Chertsey,  where  he  crossed  the 
Thames,  meets  nothing  but  Cantii,  Trinobantes, 
Cenimagni,  Segontiaci,  Ancalites,  Bibroci  and 
Cassi.  It  is  Ptolemy  who  first  mentions  the 
British  Attrebatii ;  and  he  places  them  between 
the  Dobuni  and  the  Cantii.  Now,  as  the  Dobuni 
lay  due  west  of  the  Silures  of  South  Wales,  we 
cannot  bring  the  Attrebatii  nearer  the  coast  tha 

b.  The  Belgoe. — These — like  the  Attrebatii, 
first  mentioned  by  Ptolemy — are  placed  south  of 
the  Dobuni,  and  on  the  sea-coast  between  the 
Cantii  and  Damnonii  of  Devonshire ;  so  that  Sus- 


THE   BELG.E.  71 

sex,  Hants,  and  Dorset,  may  be  given  them  as 
their  area. 

c.  The  Remi  are  mentioned  by  no  better  an 
authority  than  Richard  of  Cirencester,  as  Bibroci 
under  another  name. 

d.  The  Durotriges,  too,  or  people  of  Dor-set, 
are  stated  by  the  same  authority  to  have  been 
called  Morini. 

e.  f.  In  Ireland  we  have  two  populations  with 
German  names ;  the  Menapii  and  the  Ghauci, 
both  in  the  parts  about  Dublin,  and  in  the  neigh- 
bourhood of  one  another.  And  these  are  men- 
tioned by  Ptolemy. 

Now,  whatever  these  Belgic  names  prove,  they 
do  not  prove  Csesar's  statement  that  it  was  the 
maritime  parts  of  Britain  which  were  Belgic ; 
since  the  Menapii  and  Chauci  must  have  been 
wholly  unknown  to  him,  and  the  Attrebatii  lay 

At  the  same  time,  they  prove  something.  They 
also  introduce  difficulties  in  the  very  simple  view 
that  Britain  was  solely  and  exclusively  British. 
This  leads  to  a  further  consideration  of  the  de- 
tails. The  Remi  may  be  disposed  of  first.  They 
stand  on  bad  authority,  viz.,  that  of  a  monk  of 
the  twelfth  century. 

So  may  the  Morini.  Though  I  admit  the  in- 
genuity and  soundness  of  the  doctrine  that  the 
existence  of  a  double  nomenclature  such  as  that 



by  which  the  Dur-otriges  are  called  Morini,  and 
the  Morini,  Durotriges,  is  well  explained  by  the 
assumption  of  a  second  language,  and  the  notion 
that  the  inhabitants  of  certain  districts  were 
sometimes  called  by  a  British,  sometimes  by  a 
German,  name,  the  hypothesis  is  not  valid  where 
the  facts  can  be  more  easily  explained  other- 
wise. No  one  would  thus  explain  such  words 
as  Lowlander  and  Borderer  applied  to  the 
people  of  the  Cheviot  Hills.  Yet  both  are  cur- 
rent ;  one  being  given  when  their  relation  to 
England,  the  other  when  their  difference  from 
the  Highland  Gaels,  is  expressed. 

Now,  it  so  happens  that  Morini  and  Duro- 
triges  are  words  that  can  as  little  be  considered 
as  synonymous  terms  belonging  to  different  lan- 
guages as  Lowlander  and  Borderer  ;  since  good 
reasons  can  be  given  for  referring  them  both  to 
the  Keltic  Their  exact  import  is  difficult  to  as- 
certain ;  but  if  we  suppose  them  to  mean  coasters 
and  watersidemen,  respectively,  we  get  a  clear 
view  of  the  unlikelihood  of  one  being  German 
and  the  other  Keltic.     Thus — 

Duro-triges  coincides  with  the  Latin  compound 
ponticolce,  since  chvr  in  "^"elsh,  Cornish,  and 
Armorican  means  water,  and  trigaw  means  to 
remain  or  to  inhabit ;  trig-ad  lad  denoting  dwel- 
lers, or  inhabitants,  as  is  well  remarked  by  Prich- 
ard,  v.  iii.  1 28. 

THE  BELG.E.  73 

Mot,  in  Morini,  is  neither  more  nor  less  than 
the  Latin  word  mare*  Surely  this  sets  aside 
all  arguments  drawn  from  the  supposed  bilin- 
gual character  of  the  words  Mori  ill  and  Duro- 

The  Cauci  and  Menapii  of  Ireland  tell  a  dif- 

*  This  root  is  important.  As  it  means  sea  in  more  European 
languages  than  one,  it  has  created  a  philological  difficulty  in  the 
case  of  a  very  interesting  gloss,  Mori-marum,  meaning  dead  sea  ; 
where  by  a  strange  coincidence  the  same  consonants  (m-r)  are 
repeated,  but  with  a  difference  of  meaning. 

Prichard,  who  drew  attention  to  this  remarkable  compound, 
having  stated  that  a  passage  in  Pliny  informed  us  that  the  Cim- 
bri  called  the  sea  in  their  neighbourhood  Mori-marusa,  inferred 
that  the  name  was  Cimbric ;  and  further  argued,  that  as  mor 
mawth  in  Welsh  meant  the  same,  the  Cimbric  tongue  was  Welsh, 
Cambrian,  or  British.  As  far  as  it  went  the  inference  was  truly 
legitimate  ;  but  the  reasoning  which  led  to  it  was  deficient.  The 
likelihood  of  there  being  more  languages  than  one  wherein  both 
mor  meant  sea,  and  mor  meant  dead,  was  overlooked ;  though 
one  of  the  languages  that  supplied  the  coincidence  was  the 
Latin — mare  mort-uum. 

Another  such  a  tongue  was  the  Slavonic ;  and  to  that  tongue 
I  imagine  Morimarusa  to  be  referrible.  I  also  imagine  that  by 
the  Cimhri  of  Pliny  were  meant  the  Cimmerii;  so  that  the 
Sea  of  Azof  was  the  true  Dead  Sea ;  or,  perhaps,  the  Propon- 
tis ;  in  which  case  its  present  name,  the  Sea  of  Marmora,  is  ex- 

The  name  of  the  Province,  Ar-mor-ica,  means  the  country  on 
the  sea,  and  if  rendered  in  Latin  would  be  ad  mare.  Ar-gail  is 
such  another  word ;  and  it  was  the  name  of  the  landing-place  of 
the  Gceel=ad  Gallos. 

To  the  Grclic  Ar-mor-ica,  the  Slavonians  have  an  exact  par- 
allel in  the  word  Po-mor-aala  ;  where  po  means  on,  and  mor 
the  sea. 

74  THE  BELG.E. 

ferent  tale.  One  name  without  the  other  would 
prove  but  little ;  but  when  we  find  Gaud  in  Ger- 
many not  far  from  Menapii,  and  Menapi-i  in 
Ireland  not  far  from  Chauci,  the  case  becomes 
strengthened.  Yet  the  likelihood  ofMenap,  being 
the  same  word  as  the  Menai  of  the  Menai  Straits 
in  Wales,  suggests  the  probability  of  that  word 
being  a  geographical  term.  Nevertheless,  the 
contiguity  of  the  two  nations  is  an  argument  as 
far  as  it  goes. 

And  here  I  must  remark,  that  the  process  by 
which  words  originally  very  different  may  become 
identified  when  they  pass  into  a  fresh  language  is 
not  sufficiently  attended  to.  Gaucl  is  the  form 
which  an  Irish,  Ghauci  that  which  a  German, 
word  takes  in  Latin.  And  the  two  words  are 
alike.  Yet  it  is  far  from  certain  that  they  would 
be  thus  similar  if  we  knew  either  the  Gaelic  ori- 
ginal of  one,  or  the  German  of  the  other.  A  dozen 
forms  exceedingly  different  might  be  excogitated, 
which,  provided  that  they  all  agreed  in  being 
strange  to  a  Roman,  would,  when  moulded  into 
a  Latin  form,  become  alike.  Still  the  argument, 
as  far  as  it  goes,  is  valid. 

Such  are  the  reasons  for  believing,  at  one  and 
the  same  time,  that  the  Britons  came  from  Belgic 
Gaul,  and  that  the  Belgae  from  whence  they  came 
were  Kelts. 

We  cannot,  however,  so  far  consider  the  origin 

THE   BELG^E.  75 

of  the  British  branch  of  the  Keltic  stock  to  be 
disposed  of,  as  to  proceed  forthwith  to  the  Gaelic  ; 
another  population  requires  a  previous  notice. 
This   is   the   Pict. 




The  Picts  have  never  been  considered  Romans ; 
but,  with  that  exception,  a  relationship  with 
every  population  of  the  British  Isles  has  been 
claimed  for  them.  As  Germans  on  the  strength 
of  Tacitus'  description  of  their  physical  conforma- 
tion of  the  Caledonian,  and  as  Germans  on  the 
strength  of  the  supposed  Germanic  origin  of  the 
Belgse,  the  Picts  have  been  held  the  ancestors  of 
the  present  Lowland  Scotch.  They  have  been 
considered  Scandinavians  also.  On  the  other 
hand,  they  have  been  made  Gaels,  in  which  case 
it  is  the  Highlanders  who  are  their  offspring. 
They  have  been  considered  Britons,  and  they 
have  been  considered  a  separate  stock. 

That  they  were  Kelts  rather  than  Germans  is 
the  commonest  doctrine,  and  that  they  were 
Britons  rather  than  Gaels  is  a  common  one ; 
the  arguments  that  prove  the  latter  proving 
the  first  a  fortiori. 

We  approach  the  subject  with  a  notice  of  the 
Irish  missionary  St.  Columbanus,  whose  native 
tongue  was,  of  course,  the  Irish  Gaelic.    This  was 

THE  PICTS.  77 

unintelligible  to  the  Northern  Picts,  as  is  ex- 
pressly stated  on  in  Adammanus: — "Alio  in  tem- 
pore quo  Sanctus  Columba  in  Pictorum  provincia 
per  aliquot  demorabatur  dies,  quidam  cum  tota 
plebeius  familia,  verbum  vitce  per  interpretatorem, 
Saneto  prcedicante  vivo,  audiens  credidit,  credens- 
que  baptizatus  est/' — A  damn.  ap.  Colganum.  1.  ii. 
c.  32. 

This,  however,  only  shews  that  the  Pict  was 
not  exactly  and  absolutely  Irish.  It  might  have 
approached  it.  It  might  also  be  far  more  unlike 
than  the  Welsh  was. 

A  document  known  as  the  Colbertine  MS., 
from  being  published  from  the  Colbertine  Li- 
brary, contains  a  list  of  Pictish  kings.  This  has 
been  analysed  by  Innes  and  Garnett ;  and  the 
result  is,  that  two  names  only  are  more  Gaelic 
in  their  form  than  Welsh — viz.,  Cineod  or  Ken- 
neth, and  Domhnall  or  Donnell.  The  rest  are 
either  absolutely  contrary  to  what  they  would 
be  if  they  were  Gaelic,  or  else  British  rather  than 
aught  else.  Thus,  the  Welsh  Gurgust  appears  in 
the  Irish  Annal  as  Fergus,  or  vice  versd.  Now 
the  Pict  form  of  this  name  is  Wrgwst,  with  a 
final  T,  and  without  an  initial  F.  Elpin,  Drust, 
Drostan,  Wrad,  and  Necton  are  close  and  un- 
doubted Pict  equivalents  to  the  Welsh  names 
Owen,  Trwst,  Trwstan  (Tristram),  Gwriad,  and 

78  THE  PICTS. 

The  readers  of  the  Antiquary  well  know  the 
prominence  given  to  the  only  two  common  terms 
of  the  Pict  language  in  existence  pen  val,  or  as  it 
appears  in  the  oldest  MSS.  of  Beda  peann  fahel. 
This  is  the  head  of  the  wall,  or  caput  vail,  being 
the  eastern  extremity  (there  or  there  abouts)  of 
the  Vallum  of  Antoninus.  Now  the  present  Welsh 
form  for  head  is  pen;  the  Gaelic  cean.  Which 
way  the  likeness  lies  here,  is  evident.  For  the 
fahel  (or  val)  the  case  is  less  clear.  The  Gaelic 
form  is  fhail,  the  Welsh  gwall ;  the  Gaelic  being 
the  nearest. 

But  some  collateral  evidence  on  this  subject 
more  than  meets  the  difficulty.  "In  the  Durham 
MSS.  of  Nennius,  apparently  written  in  the 
twelfth  century,  there  is  an  interpolated  passage, 
stating  that  the  spot  in  question  was  in  the  Scot- 
tish or  Gaelic  language  called  Genail.  Innes  and 
others  have  remarked  the  resemblance  between 
this  appellation  and  the  present  Kinneil ;  but  no 
one  appears  to  have  noticed  that  Genail  accu- 
rately represents  the  pronunciation  of  the  Gaelic 
cean  fhail,  literally  head  of  wall,  f  being  quies- 
cent in  construction.  A  remarkable  instance  of 
the  same  suppression  occurs  in  Athole,  as  now 
written,  compared  with  the  Ath-fothla  of  the  Irish 
annalists.  Supposing,  then,  that  Genail  was  sub- 
stituted for  peann  fahel  by  the  Gaelic  conquerors 
of  the  district,  it  would  follow  that  the  older  ap- 

THE  PICTS.  79 

pellation  was  not  Gaelic,  and  the  inference  would 
be  obvious."* 

In  thus  making  pen  vol  a  Pict  gloss,  I  by  no 
means  imagine  that  any  of  the  three  forms  were 
originally  Keltic  at  all ;  since  vol,  gwal,  fhail  all 
seem  variations  of  the  Roman  vallum,  at  least,  in 
respect  to  their  immediate  origin.  Still,  if  out 
of  three  languages,  adopting  the  same  word,  each 
gives  a  different  form,  the  variation  which  results 
is  as  much  a  gloss  of  the  tongue  wherein  it  oc- 
curs, as  if  the  word  were  indigenous.  Hence, 
whether  we  say  that  pen  vol  are  Pict  glosses,  or 
that  pen  is  a  Pict  gloss,  and  vol  a  Pict  form  is  a 
matter  of  practical  indifference. 

The  Vallum  Antonini  was  a  work  of  man's 
hands,  and  its  name  is  of  less  value  than  those 
of  natural  objects,  such  as  mountains,  rivers,  or 
lakes.  Nevertheless,  these  latter  have  been  ex- 
amined :  thus  the  Ochel  Hills  in  Perthshire  are 
better  explained  by  the  Welsh  form  uchel  than 
by  the  Gaelic  nasal.  But  the  most  important 
word  of  all  is  the  first  element  of  the  words  Aber- 
nethy,  and  iV^er-nethy.  Both  mean  the  same, 
i.  e.,  the  confluence  of  waters,  or  something  very 
much  of  the  sort.  Both  enter  freely  into  compo- 
sition, and  the  compounds  thus  formed  are  found 
over  the  greater  part  of  the  British  Isles  as  the 
names  of  the  mouths  of  the  larger  and  more  im- 

*  Mr.  Garnett,  Philogical  Transactions,  No.  II. 

89  THE  PICTS. 

portant  rivers.  But  it  is  only  a  few  districts 
where  the  two  names  occur  together.  Just  as  we 
expect  a  priori  aber  occurs  when  inver  is  not 
to  be  found,  and  vice  versd.  Of  the  two  extremes 
Ireland  is  the  area  where  aber,  Wales  where  in- 
ver is  the  rarer  of  the  two  forms ;  indeed  so  rare 
are  they  that  the  one  (aber)  rarely,  if  ever,  occurs 
in  Ireland,  the  other  (inver)  rarely,  if  ever,  in 
"Wales.  Now  as  Ireland  is  Gaelic,  and  Welsh 
British,  the  two  words  may  fairly  be  considered  to 
indicate,  where  they  occur,  the  presence  of  these 
two  different  tongues  respectively. 

The  distribution  of  the  words  in  question  has 
long  been  an  instrument  of  criticism  in  determin- 
ing both  the  ethnological  position  of  the  Pict 
nation,  and  its  territorial  extent;  and  the  details 
are  well  given  in  the  following  table  of  Mr. 
Kemble's : 

"If  we  now  take  a  good  map  of  England  and  Wales  and  Scot- 
land, we  shall  find  the  following  data : — 

"In  Wales  : 

"Aber-ayon,  lat.  51°  37'  K,  long.  3°  46'  W. 
Aber-afon,  lat.  51°  37'  N. 
Abergavenny,  lat.  51°  49'  K,  long.  3°  O'W. 
Abergwilli,  lat.  51°  51'  N.,  long.  4°  16'  W. 
Aberystwith,  lat.  52°  24'  N.,  long.  4°  6'  W. 
Aberfraw,  lat.  53°  12'  N.,  long.  4°  30'  W. 
Abergee,  lat.  53°  17'  K,  long.  3°  17'  W. 

"In  Scotland: 

"Aberlady,  lat.  56°  1'  N.,  long.  2°  52'  W. 
Aberdour,  lat.  56°  4'  N.,  long.  3°  16'  W. 

THE   PICTS.  81 

In  Scotland: 

Aberfoil,  lat.  56°  11'  N.,  long.  4°  24'  W. 

Abernethy,  lat.  56°  20'  K,  long.  3°  20'  W. 

Aberbrothic,  lat.  56°  33'  N.,  long.  2°  35'  W. 

Aberfeldy,  lat.  56°  37'  N.,  long.  3°  55'  W. 

Abergeldie,  lat.  57°  5'  N.,  long.  3°  10'  W. 

Aberchalder,  lat.  57°  7'  N.,  long.  4°  44'  W. 

Aberdeen,  lat.  57°  8'  N.,  long.  2°  8'  W. 

Aberchirdir,  lat.  57°  35'  N.,  long.  2°  34'  W. 

Aberdour,  lat.  57°  40'  N.,  long.  2°  16'  W. 

Inverkeithing,  lat,  56°  2'  N.,  long.  3°  36'  W. 

Inverary,  lat.  56°  15"  K,  long.  5°  5'  W. 

Inverarity,  lat.  56°  36'  K,  long.  2°  54'  W. 

Inverbervie,  lat.  56°  52'  K,  long.  2°  21'  W. 

Invergeldie,  lat.  57°  1'  K,  long.  3°  12' W. 

Invernahavan,  lat.  57°  2'  N.,  long.  4°  12'  W. 

Invergelder,  lat.  57°  4'  K,  long.  3°  15'  W. 

Invermorison,  lat.  57°  14'  N.,  long.  4°  34'  W. 

Inverness,  lat.  57°  29'  K,  long.  4°  11' W. 

Invernetty,  lat.  57°  29'  K,  long.  1°  51'  W. 

Inveraslie,  lat.  57°  59'  N.,  long.  4°  40'  W. 

Inver,  lat.  58°  10'  N.,  long.  5°  10'  W. 
Tbe  line  of  separation  tben  between  tbe  Welsh  or  Pictish,  and 
the  Scotch  or  Irish,  Kelts,  if  measured  by  the  occurrence  of  these 
names,  would  run  obliquely  from  S.AV.  to  N.E.,  straight  up  Loch 
Fyne,  following  nearly  the  boundary  between  Perthshire  and 
Argyle,  trending  to  the  N.E.  along  the  present  boundary  between 
Perth  and  Inverness,  Aberdeen  and  Inverness,  Banf  and  Elgin, 
till  about  the  mouth  of  the  river  Spey.  The  boundary  between 
the  Picts  and  English  may  have  been  much  less  settled,  but  it 
probably  ran  from  Dumbarton,  along  the  upper  edge  of  Renfrew- 
shire, Lanark  and  Linlithgow  till  about  Abercorn,  that  is  along 
the  line  of  the  Clyde  to  the  Frith  of  Forth.*. 

It  cannot  be  denied  that,  in  the  present  state 
of  our  knowledge,  the  inference  from  the  preced- 

*  Saxons  in  England. — Vol.  ii.  pp.  4,  5. 


82  THE  PICTS. 

ing  table  is  that,  whether  Pict  or  not,  more  than 
two-thirds  of  Scotland  exhibit  signs  of  British 
rather  than  Gaelic  occupancy. 

This  is  as  much  as  can  be  said  at  present :  for 
it  must  be  added  that  all  the  previous  criticism 
has  proceeded  upon  the  notion  that  penn  fahel, 
&c,  are  Pict  words.  What,  however,  if  they  be 
Pict  only  in  the  way  that  man,  woman,  &c,  are 
Welsh;  i.  e.,  words  used  by  a  population  within 
the  Pict  area,  but  not  actually  Pict?  The  refine- 
ment upon  the  opinion  suggested  by  the  present 
chapter,  which  arises  out  of  the  view,  will  be  no- 
ticed after  certain  other  questions  have  been 
dealt  with. 

THE  GAELS.  83 



The  origin  of  the  Britons  has  been  a  question 
of  no  great  difficulty  They  could  not  well  have 
come  from  the  west,  because  Britain  lies  almost 
on  the  extremity  of  the  ancient  world ;  so  we  look 
towards  the  continent  of  Europe,  and  find,  ex- 
actly opposite  to  the  Britons,  the  Gauls,  speaking 
a  mutually  intelligible  language.  On  this  we 
rest,  just  pausing  for  a  short  time  to  dispose  of 
one  or  two  refinements  on  the  natural  inference. 

But  if  no  such  language  as  that  of  the  ancient 
Gauls,  a  language  closely  akin  to  the  British,  had 
been  discovered,  the  ethnologist  would  have  been 
put  to  straits;  indeed,  he  would  have  had  to  be 
satisfied  with  saying  that  Gaul  was  the  likeliest 
part  of  Europe  for  the  Britons  to  have  come  from. 
No  more.  A  strong  presumption  is  all  he  would 
have  obtained.  The  similarity,  however,  of  the 
languages  has  helped  him. 

Now  the  difficulty  which  has  just  been  noticed 


as  a  possible  one  in  the  investigation  of  the  origin 
of  the  Britons,  is  a  real  one  in  the  case  of  the 
Gaels.  The  exact  parallel  to  the  Gaelic  language 
cannot  be  found  on  any  part  of  the  continent. 
Hence,  whilst  the  British  branch  of  the  Keltic 
is  found  in  both  England  and  Gaul, — on  the  con- 
tinent as  well  as  in  the  Islands, — the  Gaelic  is 
limited  to  the  British  Isles  exclusively.  Neither 
in  Gaul  itself,  nor  the  parts  either  north  or  south 
of  Gaul  can  any  member  of  the  Gaelic  branch  be 

Even  within  the  British  Islands  the  Gaelic  is 
limited  in  its  distribution.  There  is  no  British  in 
Ireland,  and  no  Gaelic  in  South  Britain.  In  Scot- 
land both  the  tongues  occur,  the  Gaelic  being 
spoken  north  of  the  British.  Now  this  position  of 
the  Gaelic  to  the  west  and  north  of  the  British 
increases  the  difficulty — since  it  is  cut  off  from  all 
connexion  with  the  continent,  and  unrepresented 
by  any  continental  tongue. 

The  history,  then,  of  the  Gaels  is  that  of  an 
isolated  branch  of  the  Keltic  stock ;  and  it  is 
this  isolation  which  creates  the  difficulties  of  their 
ethnology.  No  historical  records  throw  any 
light  upon  their  origin — a  statement  which  the 
most  sanguine  investigator  must  admit.  But 
tradition,  perhaps,  is  less  uncommunicative.  Many 
investigators  believe  this.  For  my  own  part  I 
should   only  be  glad  to  be  able  to  do  so.     As 


it  is,  however,  the  arguments  of  the  present 
chapter  will  proceed  as  if  the  whole  legendary 
history  of  Ireland  and  Scotland,  so  far  as  it  re- 
lates to  the  migrations  by  which  the  islands 
were  originally  peopled  by  the  Gaels,  were  a 
blank — the  reasons  for  the  scepticism  being  with- 
held for  the  present.  But  only  for  the  present. 
In  the  seventh  chapter  they  will  be  given  as 
fully  as  space  allows. 

The  present  arguments  rest  wholly  upon  a  fact 
of  which  the  importance  has  more  than  once  been 
foreshadowed  already,  and  which  the  reader  anti- 
cipates. Let  us  say,  for  the  sake  of  illustration, 
that  the  British  and  Gaelic  differ  from  each  other 
as  the  Latin  and  Greek.  The  parallel  is  a  rough 
one,  but  it  will  suffice  as  the  basis  of  some  criti- 

Languages  thus  related  cannot  be  in  the  rela- 
te      © 

tion  of  mother  and  daughter,  i.  e.,  the  one  cannot 
be  derived  from  the  other,  as  the  English  is  from 
the  Anglo-Saxon,  or  the  Italian  from  the  Latin. 
The  true  connexion  is  different.  It  is  that  of 
brother  and  sister,  rather  than  of  parent  and 
child.  The  actual  source  is  some  common  mother- 
tongue  ;  a  mother-tongue  which  may  become  ex- 
tinct after  the  evolution  of  its  progeny.  Hence, 
in  the  particular  case  before  us,  the  Gaelic  and 
British  must  have  developed  themselves,  each 
independently   of  the  other,  out  of  some  com- 


mon  form  of  speech.  And  the  development 
must  have  taken  place  within  the  British  Is- 
lands ;  the  doctrine  being  that  out  of  a  lan- 
guage which  at  some  remote  period  was  neither 
British  nor  Gaelic,  but  which  contained  the 
germs  of  both,  the  western  form  of  speech  took 
one  form,  the  southern  another — the  results  be- 
ing in  the  one  case  the  British,  in  the  other  the 
Gaelic,  tongue. 

But  that  common  mother-tongue  at  the  re- 
mote period  in  question,  the  period  of  the  earliest 
occupancy  of  Britain,  must  have  been  spoken  on 
both  sides  of  the  Channel — in  Gaul  as  well  as  the 
British  Islands.  And  here  (i.  e.,  in  Gaul)  it  may 
have  done  one  of  two  things.  It  may  have  re- 
mained unaltered ;  or,  it  may  have  undergone 
change.  Now  in  either  case  it  would  be  different 
from  both  the  Gaelic  and  the  British.  In  the 
former  alternative  it  would  have  been  stereo- 
typed as  it  were,  and  so  have  preserved  its  ori- 
ginal characters,  whilst  the  Gaelic  and  British  had 
adopted  new  ones.  In  the  latter  it  would  have 
altered  itself  after  its  own  peculiar  fashion ;  and 
those  very  peculiarities  would  have  made  it  other 
than  British  as  well  as  other  than  Gaelic.  Yet 
what  is  the  fact?  The  ancient  language  of  Gaul, 
though  as  unlike  the  Gaelic  as  a  separate  and 
independent  development  was  likely  to  make  it, 
was  not  unlike  the  British.      On  the  contrary, 


it  was  sufficiently  like  it  to  be  intelligible  to  a 
Briton.  Now  I  hold  this  similarity  to  be  con- 
clusive against  the  doctrine  that  the  British  and 
Gaelic  languages  were  developed  out  of  some  com- 
mon mother-tongue  within  the  British  Islands. 
Had  they  been  so  the  dialects  of  Gaul  would  have 
been  far  more  unlike  the  British  than  they  were. 

The  British  then,  at  least,  did  not  acquire  its 
British  character  in  Britain,  but  on  the  continent ; 
and  it  was  introduced  into  England  as  a  language 
previously  formed  in  Gaul. 

For  the  Gaelic  there  is  no  such  necessity  for  a 
continental  origin  ;  indeed  at  the  first  view,  the 
probabilities  are  in  favour  of  its  having  origin- 
ated in  Britain.  It  cannot  be  found  on  the  con- 
tinent; and,  such  being  the  case,  its  continental 
origin  is  hypothetical.  One  thing,  however,  is 
certain,  viz.,  that  if  the  Gaelic  were  once  the  only 
language  of  the  British  Isles,  the  conquests  and 
encroachments  of  the  Britons  who  displaced  it, 
must  have  been  enormous.  In  the  whole  of  South 
Britain  it  must  certainly  have  been  superseded, 
and  in  half  Scotland  as  well :  whilst,  if,  before 
its  introduction  into  Great  Britain,  it  were  spoken 
on  any  part  of  the  continent,  the  displacement 
must  have  been  greater  still. 

Now,  the  hypothesis  as  to  the  origin  of  the 
Gaels  may  take  numerous  forms.  I  indicate 
the  following  three. — 



1.  The  first  may  be  called  Lhuyd's  doctrine, 
since  Humphrey  Lhuyd,  one  of  the  best  of  our 
earlier  archaeologists,  suggested  it.  Mr.  Garnett 
has  spoken  of  it  with  respect ;  but  he  evidently 
hesitates  to  admit  it.  And  it  is  only  with 
respect  that  it  should  be  mentioned  ;  for,  it  is 
highly  probable.  It  makes  the  original  popu- 
lation of  all  the  British  Isles — England  as  well 
as  Scotland  and  Ireland — to  have  been  Gaelic, 
Gaelic  to  the  exclusion  of  any  Britons  what- 
ever It  makes  a  considerable  part  of  the  con- 
tinent Gaelic  as  well.  In  consequence  of  this, 
the  Britons  are  a  later  and  intrusive  population, 
a  population  which  effected  a  great  and  complete 
displacement  of  the  earlier  Gaels  over  the  whole 
of  South  Britain,  and  the  southern  part  of  Scot- 
land. Except  that  they  were  a  branch  of  the 
same  stock  as  the  Gaels,  their  relation  to  the 
aborigines  was  that  of  the  Anglo-Saxons  to 
themselves  at  a  later  period.  The  Gaels  first ; 
then  the  Britons  ;  lastly  the  Angles.  Such  is  the 
sequence.  The  general  distribution  of  these  two 
branches  of  the  Keltic  stock  leads  to  Lhuyd's 
hypothesis ;  in  other  words,  the  presumptions 
are  in  its  favour.  But  this  is  not  all.  There 
are  certainly  some  words — the  names,  of  course, 
of  geographical  objects — to  be  found  in  both  Eng- 
land and  Gaul,  which  are  better  explained  by 
the  Gaelic  than  the  British  language.     The  most 


notable  of  these  is  the  names  of  such  rivers  as 
the  Exe,  Axe,  and  (perhaps)  Oose,  which  is  better 
illustrated  by  the  Irish  term  uisge  (ivhiskey, 
water),  than  by  any  Welsh  or  Armorican  one. 

2.  The  second  doctrine  may  be  called  the 
Hibernian  hypothesis.  It  allows  to  the  Britons 
of  England,  and  South  Scotland  any  amount  of 
antiquity,  making  them  aboriginal  to  Great  Bri- 
tain. The  Gaels  of  the  Scottish  Highlands  it 
derives  from  Ireland  ;  a  view  supported  by  a 
passage  in  Beda.*  Ireland  is  thus  the  earliest 
insular  occupancy  of  the  Gael.  But  whence 
came  they  to  Ireland?  From  some  part  south 
and  west  of  the  oldest  known  south-western 
limits  of  the  Keltic  area,  from  Spain,  perhaps ; 
in  which  case  a  subsequent  displacement  of  the 
original  Kelts  of  the  continent  by  the  Iberians — 
the  oldest  known  stock  of  the  Peninsula — must 
be  assumed.  But  as  there  must  be  some  assump- 
tions somewhere,  the  only  question  is  as  to  its 

3.  The  third  hypothesis — the  Caledonian — 
reverses  the  second,  and  deduces  the  Irish  Gaels 
from  Scotland,  and  the  Scotch  Gaels  from  some 
part  north  of  the  oldest  known  Keltic  bound- 
ary and  in  the  direction  of  Scandinavia.  Like 
both  the  others,  this  involves  a  subsequent  dis- 
placement of  the  mother-stock. 

*  See  Chapter  viii. 




The  steady  and  continuous  operation  of  Roman 
influences  may  be  said  to  begin  in  the  reign  of 
Claudius,  A.D.  43 ;  the  sceptre  of  Cynobelin  hav- 
ing passed  into  the  hands  of  his  sons.  Against 
these,  and  against  the  other  princes  of  Britain, 
such  as  Caradoc  (Caractacus)  and  Cartismandua, 
the  active  commanders  Aulus  Plautius  and  Osto- 
rius  Scapula  are  employed.  Three  lines  diverging 
from  the  parts  about  London  give  us  the  direction 
of  their  conquests  One  running  along  the  valley 
of  the  Thames  takes  us  to  the  Dobuni  of  Glouces- 
tershire, and  the  Silures  of  South  Wales  ;  both  of 
which  are  specially  enumerated  as  subdued  popula- 
tions. The  other,  almost  at  right  angles  with  the 
last,  gives  us  the  operations  against  the  town  of 
Camelodunum  in  Essex,  the  Iceni  who  afterwards 
revolted,  and  the  Brigantes  of  Yorkshire.  The 
third  is  indicated  by  Paulinus'  campaigns  in 
North  Wales,  and  his  bloody  deeds  in  the  Isle 
of  Anglesey,  a  line  of  conquest  which  probably 
arose  out  of  the  reduction  of  the  midland  coun- 


ties  of  Northampton,  Leicester,  Derby,  Stafford, 
and  Shropshire.  I  do  not  say  that  these  give  us 
the  actual  movements  of  the  Roman  army  They 
serve,  however,  to  note  the  points  where  the 
special  evidence  of  Roman  occupation  is  most 

In  the  reign  of  Yespasian  the  conquests  were 
not  only  consolidated  but  extended.  Agricola 
builds  his  line  of  forts  from  the  Forth  to  the  Clyde, 
and  penetrates  as  far  north  as  the  Grampians. 
Whether  the  warriors  whom  he  here  met  under 
Galgacus  were  Britons,  like  those  whom  he  had 
seen  in  the  south,  or  Gaels,  is  a  matter  which  will 
be  considered  hereafter  ;  but  he  fought  against 
them  with  foreign  as  well  as  with  Roman  soldiers. 
The  German  Usipii  formed  one,  if  not  more,  of  his 
cohorts ;  a  circumstance  which  shews  what  will  be 
illustrated,  with  fuller  details,  in  the  sequel,  viz., 
that  the  Roman  conquerors  of  Britain  were  far 
from  being  exclusively  Roman.  The  Usipii,  how- 
ever, are  the  first  non-Roman  soldiers  mentioned 
by  name.  On  the  west  coast  of  Britain,  Agricola 
had  to  deal  with  the  pirates  from  Ireland — 
undoubted  Gaels  whatever  the  warriors  of  the 
Grampians  may  have  been. 

Roman  civilization  took  root  rapidly  in  Britain, 
though  in  a  bad  form.  The  early  existence  of 
lawyers  and  money-lenders  shew  this.  During  the 
reign  of  Domitian  the  advocates  of  Britain  were 


known  to  the  satirists  of  Rome ;  and,  as  early  as 
that  of  Nero,  the  calling-in  of  a  loan  by  the  phi- 
sopher  Seneca  helped  to  create  the  great  revolt 
under  Boadicea.  But  except  in  respect  to  the  use 
of  the  Roman  language,  it  is  doubtful  whethe: 
the  culture  was  much  different  from  that  which 
had  developed  itself  under  Cynobelin — a  civi 
lization  which  though  being  due,  in  a  great 
degree,  to  Gaul,  was  also,  more  or  less  indirectly, 
Roman  as  well ;  but,  nevertheless,  a  civilization 
which  was  unattended  with  any  loss  of  nation- 

The  rampart  from  the  mouth  of  the  Tyne  to 
the  Solway  is  referred  to  the  reign  of  Adrian ; 
the  conversion  of  Agricola's  line  of  forts  into  a 
continuous  wall  to  that  of  Aurelius  Antoninus. 
These  boundaries  give  us  two  areas.  North  of 
the  Antonine  frontier  the  Roman  power  was 
never  consolidated,  although  the  eastern  half 
was  occasionally  traversed  by  active  command- 
ers like  the  Emperor  Servius.  It  was  the 
county  of  the  Caledonians  and  MeataB. 

Between  the  frontier  of  Agricola  and  the  ram- 
part of  Adrian,  the  occupation  was  less  incom- 
plete. Incomplete,  however,  it  was  ;  even  when, 
in  the  fourth  century,  it  was  made  a  province  by 
Theodosius,  and  in  honour  of  the  Emperor  of 
Valens,  called  Valentia.  A.D.  211,  Severus,  after 
strengthening  the  Antonine  fortifications,  dies  at 




York  ;  his  reign  being  an  epoch  of  some  import- 
ance in  the  history  of  Roman  Britain.  In  the 
first  place,  it  is  only  up  to  this  reign  that  our 
authorities  are  at  all  satisfactory.  Caesar,  Taci- 
tus, and  Dio  Cassius,  have  hitherto  been  our 
guides.  For  the  next  eighty  years,  however, 
we  shall  find  no  cotemporary  historian  at  all, 
and  when  our  authorities  begin  again,  the  first 
will  be  one  of  the  worthless  writers  of  the  Pane- 
gyrics. In  the  next  place,  the  great  divisions  of 
the  Britannic  populations  have  hitherto  been  but 
two — the  Britons  proper  and  the  Caledonians. 
The  next  class  of  writers  will  complicate  the 
ethnology  by  speaking  of  the  Picts.  The  chief 
change,  however,  is  that  in  the  British  popula- 
tion itself.  The  contest,  except  on  the  Welsh 
and  Scotch  frontiers,  is  no  longer  between  the 
Roman  invader  and  the  British  native  ;  but  be- 
tween Britain  as  a  Romano-Britannic  province, 
and  Rome  as  the  centre  and  head  of  the  empire  : 
in  other  words,  the  quarrels  with  the  mother- 
country  replace  the  wars  against  the  aborigines. 
This,  however,  is  part  of  the  civil  history  of 
Rome,  rather  than  the  natural  history  of  Britain. 
The  contests  of  Albinus  against  Severus,  and  of 
Proculus  and  Bonosus  against  Probus,  are  the 
earliest  instances  of  the  attempts  upon  the  Im- 
perial Purple  from  these  quarters ;  attempts 
which   give    us    the  measure   of  the   extent  to 


which  the  island  was  Roman  rather  than  Keltic 
— at  least  in  respect  to  its  political  history. 

Bonosus,  himself,  had  British  blood  in  his  veins 
although  born  in  Spain,  for  his  mother  was  a 
Gaul ;  but  as  he  is  called  "  Briton  in  origin/'  we 
may  infer  that  his  father  was  from  our  own 
island.  Probus  allowed  the  Britons  the  privi- 
lege of  growing  vines  and  of  making  wine. 

In  the  last  ten  years  of  the  third  century 
events  thicken.  The  revolt  of  Carausius,  the 
assumption  of  the  empire  by  Allectus,  and  the 
adoption  of  Constantius  Chlorus  by  Diocletian 
as  Caesar,  are  events  of  ethnological  as  well  as 
political  influence.  This  they  are,  because  they 
indicate  either  the  introduction  of  foreign  ele- 
ments into  Britain,  or  the  infusion  of  British 
blood  in  other  quarters.  Carausius,  for  in- 
stance, was  a  Menapian,  and  he  is  not  likely 
to  have  been  the  only  one  of  his  times.  The 
Constantian  family,  I  believe,  to  have  been 
more  British  than  even  the  usual  opinion  makes 

A  little  consideration  will  tell  us  that  the 
three  names  of  this  important  pedigree — Con- 
stans,  Constantius,  and  Constantinus,  have  no 
etymological  connexion  with  the  substantive 
Constant  la  ;  in  other  words,  that  Gonstans  does 
not  mean  the  constant  Man,  just  as  prudens 
means  the  prudent,    or  sapiens  the  wise.      No 


such  signification  will  account  for  the  forms  in 
-uis  and  -inus.  To  this  it  may  be  added  that 
the  family  was  of  foreign  extraction,  as  were  the 
families  of  nearly  half  the  later  emperors.  The 
name,  I  believe,  was  foreign  also.  If  so,  it  was 
most  probably  Keltic ;  since  con,  both  as  a  simple 
single  term,  and  as  an  element  of  compounds  is 
a  common  Keltic  proper  name.  The  only  fact 
against  this  view  is  the  descent  of  the  first  of 
the  three  emperors — Constantius.  He  was  not 
born  in  either  Gaul  or  Britain.  On  the  contrary, 
his  father  was  a  high  official  in  the  Diocese  of 
Illyricum,  and  his  mother,  a  niece  of  the  Emperor 
Claudius  ;*  circumstances  which,  at  the  first  view, 
seem  to  contradict  the  inference  from  the  name. 
They  do  so,  however,  in  appearance  only.  The 
most  unlikely  man  to  have  been  high  in  office 
in  Illyricum  was  a  native  Illyrian ;  for  it  was 
the  policy  of  Rome  to  put  Kelts  in  the  Slavonic, 
and  Slavonians  in  the  Keltic,  provinces  ;  just  as, 
at  the  present  moment,  Russia  places  Finn  regi- 
ments in  the  Caucasus,  and  Caucasian  in  Fin- 
land. If  this  view  be  correct,  a  Keltic  name  is 
evidence,  as  far  as  it  goes,  of  Keltic  blood. 

In  the  next  generation  we  have  to  deal  with 
both  historical  facts  and  traditions  connected 
with  the  pedigree  of  Constantine  the  Great. 
That    he   was    born   in    Britain,    and    that   his 

*  Niebuhr's  Lectures,  p.  iii,  312. 



mother  was  of  low  origin,  are  the  historical 
facts  ;  that  she  was  the  daughter  of  King  Coel 
of  Colchester  is  the  tradition.  The  latter  is  of 
any  amount  of  worthlessness,  and  no  stress  is 
laid  upon  it.  The  former  are  considered  con- 
firmatory of  the  present  view.  The  chief  sup- 
port, however,  lies  in  the  British  character  of  the 

In  the  Panegyric  of  Mamertinus  on  the  Em- 
peror Maximian,  one  of  the  Augusti,  who  shared 
the  imperial  power  with  Diocletian,  we  have  the 
first  mention  of  the  Picts.  Worthless  as  the  Pa- 
negyrists are  when  we  want  specific  facts,  they 
have  the  great  merit  of  being  cotemporary  to  the 
events  they  allude  to;  for  allusions  of  a  tanta- 
lizing and  unsatisfactory  character  is  all  we  get 
from  them.  However,  Mamertinus  is  the  first 
writer  who  mentions  the  Picts,  and  he  does  it  in 
his  notice  of  the  revolt  of  Carausius. 

More  important  than  this  is  a  passage  which 
gives  us  an  army  of  Frank  mercenaries  in  the 
City  of  London,  as  early  as  A.D.  290 — there  or 
thereabouts.  It  is  a  passage  of  which  too  little 
notice  has,  hitherto,  been  taken — "By  so  thorough 
a  consent  of  the  Immortal  Gods,  0  unconquered 
Caesar,  has  the  extermination  of  all  the  enemies, 
whom  you  have  attacked,  and  of  the  Franks 
more  especially,  been  decreed,  that  even  those  of 
your  soldiers,  who,  having  missed  their  way  on  a 


foggy  sea,  reached  the  town  of  London,  destroyed 
promiscuously  and  throughout  the  city  the  whole 
remains  of  that  mercenary  multitude  of  barba- 
rians, that,  after  escaping  the  battle,  sacking  the 
town,  and,  attempting  flight,  was  still  left — a 
deed,  whereby  your  provincials  were  not  only 
saved,  but  delighted  by  the  sight  of  the  slaugh- 

One  German  tribe,  then  at  least,  has  set  its 
foot  on  the  land  of  Britain  as  early  as  the  reign 
of  Diocletian;  and  that  as  enemies.  How  far 
their  settlement  was  permanent,  and  how  far  the 
particular  section  of  them,  mentioned  by  Mamer- 
tinus,  represented  the  whole  of  the  invasion,  is 
uncertain.  The  paramount  fact  is  the  existence 
of  hostile  Franks  in  Middlesex  nearly  200  years 
before  the  epoch  of  Hengist. 

Were  there  Saxons  as  well  ?  This  is  a  question 
for  the  sequel.  At  present,  I  remark,  that  Ma- 
mertinus  mentions  them  by  name  but  without 
placing  them  on  the  soil  of  Britain.  They  merely 
vexed  the  British  Seas. 

Were  there  any  other  Germans?  Aurelius  Vic- 
tor suggests  that  there  were.  AD.  306,  Constan- 
tius  dies  at  York,  and  Constantine,  his  son,  "as- 
sisted by  all  who  were  about,  but  especially  by 
Eroc,  King  of  the  Alemanni,  assumes  the  empire." 
Now  Eroc  had  accompanied  Constantius  as  an 
ally  (auxilii  gratii);    so  that  there  were  Ale- 


manni  in  Yorkshire,  as  well  as  Franks  in  Mid- 
dlesex, with  powers,  more  or  less,  approaching 
those  of  independent  populations ;  at  any  rate,  in 
a  different  position  from  the  mere  legionary 
Germans,  of  whom  further  notice  will  soon  be 

In  Julian's  reign  the  Picts,  Scots,  and  Attacotti 
harass  the  South  Britains.  This  is  on  the  co- 
temporary  and  unexceptionable  evidence  of  Am- 
mianus  Marcellinus.  And  the  same  cotemporary 
and  unexceptionable  evidence  adds  the  Saxons  to 
his  list  of  devastators — "Picti,  Saxonesque,  et 
Scoti,  et  Attacotti  Britannos  serumnis  vexavere 
continuis."     Mark  the  word  continuis. 

The  Alemanni  of  Britain  are  noticed  by  the 
same  writer  in  a  passage  which  must  be  taken 
along  with  the  notice  of  the  Alemanni  under  Eroc. 
"Valentinian  placed  Fraomarius  as  king  over  the 
Buccinobantes,  a  nation  of  the  Alemanni,  near 
Mentz.  Soon  afterwards,  however,  an  attack 
upon  his  people  devastated  their  country  (pa- 
gum,  gau).  H  e  was  then  translated  to  Britain, 
and  placed  over  the  Alemanni,  at  that  time 
flourishing  both  in  numbers  and  power,  as 

We  may  now  ask  what  foreign  elements  were 
introduced  into  Britain  by  the  Roman  legions ; 
since  nothing  is  more  certain  than  that  the  Ro- 
man  armies  consisted,  but  in  a  small  degree,  of 


Romans.  The  Notitia*  Utriusque  Imperii  helps 
us  here ;  indeed  it  may  be  that  it  supplies  us  with 
a  complete  list  of  the  imperial  forces  in  all  their 
ethnological  heterogeneousness.  Some  of  the 
titles  of  the  regiments  and  companies  (alee,  nu- 
meri,  cohortes)  are  unexplained :  several,  how- 
ever, are  taken  from  the  country  of  the  soldiers 
that  composed  them. 

The  list  gives  us  settlers  in  Britain  of  Ger- 
manic, Gallic,  Iberic,  Slavonic,  Aramaic,  and 
Berber  extraction. 


Tungricani. — Either  soldiers  who  had  distin- 
guished themselves  in  the  parts  about  Tongres,  or 
true  Tungrian  Germans,  under  a  Prsepositus,  and 
stationed  at  Dubris  (Dover). 

Tungri. — True  Tungrian  Germans.  At  Borco- 
vicum.     A  cohort. 

Tumacenses. — Either  soldiers  who  had  distin- 
guished themselves  in  the  parts  about  Tournay,  or 
true  Tournay  Germans,  under  a  Propositus,  and 
stationed  at  Lemanus  (Lyrnne). 

Batavians. — A  cohort  stationed  at  Procolitia. 


Nervii. — A  numerous  cohort  under  a  Prefect  at 

*  Referred  to  some  time  between  the  reigns  of  Valens  and 


Nervii. — A  cohort  at  Aliona. 

Nervii. — A  cohort  at  Virosidum.  How  far  these 
were  Gauls,  or,  if  Gauls,  of  unmixed  blood,  is  un- 
certain. During  the  wars  of  Csesar,  the  brave 
nation  of  the  Nervians  was  said  to  have  been  ex- 
terminated. Such  was  not  the  case.  Portions  of 
it  remained.  At  the  same  time,  the  reduction  was 
so  great,  and  the  subsequent  influx  of  Germans 
from  the  Lower  Rhine  was  so  considerable,  that 
the  soldiers  in  question  were,  probably,  as  much 
Roman  and  German  as  Gallic. 

Morini. — Gauls  from  the  parts  about  Calais. 
A  cohort,  stationed  at  Glannobanta. 

Galli. — A  cohort  at  Vendolana. 


Hispani. — A  cohort.  Stationed  at  Axellodu- 


Dalmatw. — Cavalry.  Stationed  at  Brannodu- 

Dalmatce. — A  cohort,  at  Prsesidum. 

Dalmatce. — A  cohort,  at  Magna. 

Bad. — A  cohort,  at  Amboglanna. 

Thraces.^-A  cohort,  at  Gabrosentum. 

Thaifal  (?) — Cavalry.  Perhaps  German,  but 
more  probably  Slavonians,  infamous  for  the  tur- 
pitude of  their  habits. 


Syri. — Cavalry. 


Mauri. — Under  a  Prefect,  at  Aballaba. 

If  we  ask  what  proportion  these  foreign  and 
miscellaneous  elements  in  the  Roman  Legions 
of  Britain  bore  to  the  true  Romans,  we  wait  in 
vain  for  an  answer.  This  is  because  the  con- 
stitution of  the  other  portions  of  the  army  is 
unknown.  Who  (for  instance)  composed  the 
Fortenses,  the  Stablesiani,  the  Abulci,  and.  nu- 
merous other  companies.  Perhaps,  Romans ;  in 
which  case  the  proportion  of  Syrian,  Slavonian, 
and  other  non-Roman  elements  is  diminished. 
Perhaps,  Syrians,  Slavonians,  or  Germans;  in 
which  case  it  is  increased  ?  That  the  above-named 
troops,  however,  belonged  to  the  ethnological  divi- 
sions which  are  denoted  by  the  names,  is  in  the 
highest  degree  probable.  It  is  also  probable  that 
the  list  may  be  increased;  thus  the  Pacenses, 
the  Asti,  the  Frixagori,  and  the  Lergi,  although 
there  are  doubts,  in  every  case,  about  the  read- 
ing, and  still  greater  about  the  signification,  have 
reasonably  been  thought  to  have  been  regiments, 
or  companies,  named  from  the  localities  where 
they  were  levied;  but,  as  already  stated,  these 
localities  are  doubtful. 

As  blood  foreign  to  both  the  British  and  Ro- 
man was  introduced  into  Britain,  so  was  British 


blood  introduced  elsewhere.  All  the  foreign 
stations  of  the  British  troops  are  not  known; 
but  that  there  was,  at  least,  one  in  each  of  the 
following  countries  is  certain — Illyricum,  Egypt, 
Northern  Africa.  The  history  of  foreign  blood 
in  Britain,  and  of  British  blood  in  foreign  coun- 
tries are  counterpart  questions. 

The  lines  of  Roman  road  are  the  best  data  for 
ascertaining  the  parts  of  our  island  where  the 
mixture  of  Roman  and  foreign  blood  was  great- 
est :  since  it  is  a  fair  inference  that  those  districts 
which  were  the  least  accessible  were  the  most 
Keltic.  These  are  North  Wales,  Cornwall  and 
Devonshire,  the  Wealds  of  Sussex  and  Kent,  Lin- 
colnshire, and  the  district  of  Craven.  On  the 
other  hand,  the  pre-eminently  Roman  tracts 
are — 

1.  The  valleys  of  the  Tyne  and  Sol  way,  or  the 
line  of  the  wall  and  rampart  which  divided  South 
Britain  from  North. 

2.  The  valley  of  the  Ouse,  or  the  parts  about 

3.  4.  The  valleys  of  the  Thames  and  Severn. 

5.  Cheshire  and  South  Lancashire. 

6.  Norfolk  and  Suffolk. 

The  Roman  blood,  then,  in  Britain  seems  to 
have  been  inconsiderable,  even  when  we  class  as 
Roman  everything  which  was  other  than  British. 
That  the  language,  however,  was  chiefly  Latin — 


more  or  less  modified — is  what  we  infer  from  the 
analogies  of  Gaul  and  Spain.  The  history,  too, 
of  four  centuries  of  civilization  and  corruption  is 
Roman  also.  That  there  was  a  bodily  evacuation 
of  Britain  by  the  Romans,  a  concealment  of  trea- 
sures, and  a  migration  to  Gaul,  rests  upon  no 
authority  earlier  than  that  of  the  Anglo-Saxon 
writers,  some  five  centuries  later.  The  country  was 
rather  a  theatre  for  usurpers  and  rebels ;  none  of 
whom  can  be  shewed  to  have  either  left  the 
island,  or  to  have  been  exterminated  by  the 
Anglo-Saxon  invasion — an  invasion  to  which,  in 
a  future  chapter,  an  earlier  date,  and  a  more  gra- 
dual operation  than  is  usually  assigned  will  be 









Not  one  word  has  hitherto  been  said  about  the 
early  traditions  of  either  Briton  or  Gael.  No 
word,  either,  about  their  early  records.  Nothing 
about  the  Triads,  Aneurin,  Taliessin,  Llywarch 
Hen,  and  Merlin  on  the  side  of  the  Welsh;  no- 
thing about  the  Milesian  and  other  legends  of  the 
Irish.  Why  this  silence?  Have  the  preceding 
investigations  been  so  superabundantly  clear  as 
to  lead  us  to  dispense  with  all  rays  of  light  ex- 
cept those  of  the  most  unexceptionable  kind? 

It  is  an  unusual  piece  of  good  fortune  when 
this  happens  anywhere  ;  and  assuredly  it  has  not 
happened  on  British  or  Irish  ground  as  yet.  Or  has 
the  evidence  of  such  early  records  and  traditions 
been  incompatible  with  the  doctrines  of  the  pre- 
vious chapters,  and,  on  the  strength  of  its  incon- 
venience, been  kept  back?  If  so,  there  has  been  a 
foul  piece  of  disingenuousness  on  the  part  of  the 
writer    But  he  does  not  plead  guilty  to  this     He 


attaches  but  little  weight  to  the  evidence  of  the 
early  British  records;  and  the  contents  of  the 
present  chapter  are  intended  to  justify  his  depre- 
ciation of  them. 

The  writer  who  asserts  that  the  oldest  work  in 
any  language  is  of  such  antiquity  as  to  be  separ- 
ated from  the  next  oldest  by  any  very  long  inter- 
val— by  an  interval  which  leaves  a  wide  chasm 
between  the  first  and  second  specimens  of  the 
literature  which  no  fragments  and  no  traces  of 
any  lost  compositions  are  found  to  fill  up — makes 
an  assertion  which  he  is  bound  to  support  by 
evidence  of  the  most  cogent  kind.  For  it  is  not 
always  enough  to  shew  that  no  intrinsic  objec- 
tions lie  against  the  antiquity  of  the  work  in 
question.  It  may  be  so  short,  or  so  general  in 
respect  to  its  subject  as  to  leave  no  room  for  con- 
tradictory and  impossible  sentences  or  expres- 
sions. It  is  not  enough  to  shew  that  there  were 
no  reasons  against  such  a  literature  being  deve- 
loped  ;  since  it  is  difficult  to  say  what  condi- 
tions absolutely  forbid  the  production  of  a  work 
stamped  by  no  very  definite  characteristics.  Nor 
yet  will  it  suffice  to  say  that  the  preservation  of 
such  a  work  is  probable.  All  that  can  be  got 
from  all  this  is  a  presumption  in  its  favour.  The 
great  fact  of  a  work  existing  without  giving  this 
impulse  to  the  production  of  others  like  it,  and 
the  fact  of  the  same  means  of  preservation  being 



wholly  neglected  in  other  instances,  still  stand 
over.  They  are  not  conclusive  against  certain 
positions ;  but  they  are  circumstances  which  must 
be  fairly  met ;  circumstances  which  if  one  writer 
overlook,  others  will  not;  circumstances  which 
the  critic  will  insist  on ;  and  circumstances 
which,  if  the  dazzle  of  a  paradox,  or  the  appeal  to 
the  innate  and  universal  sympathy  for  antiquity 
keep  them  in  the  back  ground  for  a  while,  will, 
sooner  or  later,  rise  against  the  author  who  over- 
looked them. 

Neither  are  arguments  from  the  antiquity  of 
language  conclusive.  When  two  works  differ 
from  each  other  in  respect  to  the  signs  of  anti- 
quity exhibited  in  their  phraseology,  the  infer- 
ence that  the  oldest  in  point  of  speech  is  propor- 
tionably  old  in  point  of  time  is  not  the  only  one. 
It  is  an  easy  thing  to  say  that  in  the  Latin  lite- 
rature the  language  of  Ennius  represents  a  date 
a  hundred  years  earlier  than  that  of  Cicero,  and 
that  of  Cicero  a  date  400  earlier  than  the  time  of 
Boethius,  and  that  when  we  meet  elsewhere  com- 
positions which  differ  from  each  other  as  the 
Latin  of  Ennius  does  from  that  of  Boethius,  there 
is  500  years  difference  between  them.  It  is  by 
no  means  certain  that  any  two  languages  alter 
at  the  same  rate. 

But  an  average  may  be  struck,  and  it  may  be 
said  that  greater  antiquity  of  expression  is  primd 


facie  evidence  of  a  greater  antiquity  of  date.  It 
is  :  but  is  only  so  when  we  are  quite  sure  that 
the  dialects  of  the  two  specimens  are  the  same. 
There  are  works  printed  this  very  year  in  Ice- 
land which,  if  there  dates  were  unknown,  would 
pass  for  being  a  hundred  years  older  than  the 
Swedish  of  the  eleventh  century. 

It  is  only  when  the  supporter  of  the  authen- 
ticity of  a  work  of  singular  and  unique  antiquity 
can  begin  with  an  epoch  of  comparatively  recent 
date,  and  argue  backwards  through  a  series  of 
continuous  works,  each  older  than  the  other,  to 
one  still  older  than  any,  that  he  can  reasonably 
accuse  the  critic  who  demurs  to  his  deductions 
of  captiousness.  In  this  way  the  antiquity  of 
the  oldest  Chinese  annals  is  invalidated :  in  this 
way  the  date  of  the  Indian  Vedas  (1400  B.C.). 
But  the  great  classical  literatures  stand  the  test, 
and  from  the  present  time  to  Claudian,  from 
Claudian  to  Ennius,  and  from  Ennius  to  Archi- 
lochus  we  trace  a  classical  literature  with 
all  its  works  in  continuity ;  each  pointing  to 
some  one  older  than  itself  Even  this  forbids 
an  excessive  antiquity  to  Homer. 

Again — the  likelihood  of  forgery  must  be  con- 
tinually kept  in  mind ;  so  much  so,  that  even  in 
the  unexceptionable  literature  of  the  classics,  if 
it  could  be  shewn  that  any  age  between  the  pre- 
sent and  the  eighth  century  B.C.,  were  an  age  in 

108  VALUE   OF 

which  the  Greek  drama,  the  Greek  epics,  the  Greek 
histories,  or  the  Greek  orations  could  be  forged, 
a  great  deal  would  be  subtracted  from  the  proofs 
of  their  antiquity.  I  do  not  say  that  it  would 
set  them  aside  ;  because  everything  of  this  kind  is 
a  question  of  degree  ;  but  the  argument  in  their 
favour  would  be  less  exceptionable  than  it  is. 

For  it  cannot  be  too  strongly  urged  that  the 
preservation  of  records  of  high  antiquity,  in  and 
of  itself,  is  naturally  and  essentially  improbable. 
More  than  half  of  the  antiquities  of  the  world 
have  been  lost ;  and  this  alone  gives  us  the  odds 
against  an  instance  of  survivorship.  This  has 
been  insisted  on  by  more  than  one  archaeologist 
— more  cautious  and  candid  than  the  majority 
of  his  brotherhood.  Whoever  doubts  this  should 
look  around  him.  How  few  nations  have  a  lite- 
rature !  How  thoroughly  is  the  non-development 
of  a  permanent  literature  the  exception  rather 
than  the  rule  !  And,  even  when  records  come 
into  existence,  how  numerous  are  the  chances 
against  their  preservation.  Destruction  is  the 
common  law  :  continuance  a  happy  rarity.  For 
extraordinary  phenomena  we  must  have  extra- 
ordinar}'  proofs. 

From  the  present  time  to  the  eleventh  cen- 
tury we  may  trace  the  native  Welsh  literature 
continuously  ;  but  no  farther.  If  any  thing  be 
older  than  the  laws  of  Hoel  Dhu,  they  must  be 


so  by  four  centuries,  with  nothing  in  the  inter- 
val. This  is  the  measure  of  the  value  of  Welsh 
evidence  to  the  events  of  the  fifth  century. 
Writers,  however,  in  Latin  existed  earlier.  Still, 
this  is  unsufficient  to  be  conclusive  to  the  vali- 
dity of  a  fact  in  the  fourth.  Such  a  statement 
must  be  tested  by  its  own  intrinsic  probability. 
It  cannot  come  before  us  invested  with  the  dig- 
nity of  a  historically  authenticated  event.  What 
this  is  will  soon  appear. 

If  this  be  the  spirit  in  which  we  must  scru- 
tinize documentary  evidence,  with  what  eyes 
must  we  look  upon  traditions — traditions  where- 
in the  record,  instead  of  being  permanently  re- 
gistered, is  transmitted  from  mouth  to  mouth, 
from  father  to  son,  from  the  old  man  to  the 
young,  from  generation  to  generation  ?  The 
mere  etymological  import  of  the  word  will  mis- 
lead us.  It  is  not  enough  for  a  thing  to  have 
been  handed  down  from  father  to  son.  A  relic 
may  be  so  transmitted  ;  indeed,  written  papers 
and  printed  books  are  traditions  of  this  kind. 
Heirlooms  of  any  sort — whether  belonging  to 
a  nation  or  an  individual — are  such  traditions  as 

In  a  true  tradition  we  must  consider  the  form 
and  the  origin.  A  narrative  which  has  taken  a 
definite  shape,  either  as  a  formula  or  a  poem, 
can  scarcely  be  called  a  tradition.     It  is  a  speci- 

110  VALUE  OF 

men  of  composition  handed  down  by  tradition, 
but  not  a  tradition  itself.  It  is  an  unwritten 
record — as  much  a  record  in  form  and  nature 
as  a  written  document,  but  differing  from  a 
written  document  in  the  manner  of  its  trans- 
mission to  posterity.  Many  a  good  judge  be- 
lieves that  the  Homeric  poems  are  older  than 
the  art  of  writing,  and,  consequently,  that  they 
were  handed  down  to  posterity  orally.  Yet  no 
one  would  say  that  the  Iliad  and  Odyssey  were 
Greek  traditions. 

The  fact  of  a  narrative  having  taken  a  per- 
manent form,  inasmuch  as  that  permanent  form 
both  facilitates  its  transmission,  and  ensures  its 
integrity,  distinguishes  an  unwritten  record  from 
a  tradition. 

A  true  account  of  a  real  event  transmitted  from 
father  to  son  in  no  set  form  of  words,  but  told  in 
a  way  that  a  nursery  tale  is  told  to  children,  or 
the  way  in  which  a  piece  of  evidence  is  given  in  a 
court  of  justice,  constitutes  a  tradition;  for  in  this 
form  only  is  it  liable  to  those  elements  of  uncer- 
tainty which  distinguish  tradition  from  history — 
elements  which  we  must  recognize,  if  we  wish  to 
be  precise  in  our  language, 

Such  is  its  form,  or  rather  its  want  of  form. 
But  this  is  not  enough.  A  tradition,  to  be  any- 
thing at  all,  must  have  a  basis  in  fact,  and  repre- 
sent a  real  action,  either  accurately  described  or 


but  moderately  misrepresented.  I  say  moderately 
misrepresented,  because  the  absolute  transmission 
of  anything  beyond  a  mere  list  of  names,  and 
dates,  without  addition,  omission,  or  embellish- 
ment, is  a  practical  impossibility.  Hence  we  must 
allow  for  some  inaccuracy ;  just  as  in  mechanics 
we  must  allow  for  friction.  But,  allowing  for 
this,  we  must  still  remember  that  the  event  and 
the  account  of  it,  are  correlative  terms.  An 
opinion — an  account  of  an  account — only  takes 
the  appearance  of  a  tradition.  It  is  a  tradition 
so  far  as  it  is  handed,  down  to  posterity,  but  it 
is  no  tradition  with  corresponding  facts  as  a  basis. 
.It  is  generally  a  theory — a  theory,  perhaps  un- 
consciously formed,  but  still  a  theory.  Certain 
phenomena,  of  which  there  is  no  historical  expla- 
nation, excite  the  notice  of  some  one  less  incu- 
rious than  his  fellows,  and  he  attempts  to  account 
for  them.  On  the  two  opposite  coasts  of  a  sea — 
for  instance — two  populations  with  the  same 
manners  and  language,  are  observed  to  reside. 
A  migration  will  account  for  this;  and,  conse- 
quently, a  migration  is  assumed.  The  view,  being 
reasonable,  is  generally  adopted ;  and  the  fact  of  a 
migration  having  absolutely  taken  place  becomes 
the  current  belief.  The  men  who  speak  of  this 
in  the  fourth  or  fifth  generation,  speak  of  it  as  an 
actual  occurrence.  So,  perhaps,  it  is.  But  it  is  no 
tradition  notwithstanding;  since  the  record  can- 



not  be  traced  up  to  the  event.  All  that  posterity 
has  had  handed-down  from  its  ancestors,  is  an 
inference;  which,  even  if  it  be  as  good  as  the  his- 
torical account  of  an  absolute  event  (as  it  some- 
times is),  is  anything  but  a  tradition  in  the  strict 
sense  of  the  term.  Of  course,  the  existence  of 
the  inference  itself  can  be  reduced  to  a  fact,  and, 
as  such,  produce  a  tradition.  But  this  is  not 
the  tradition  which  is  wanted — not  the  tradition 
which  gives  the  fact  in  question. 

These  ex  post  facto  traditions  may  be  of  any 
amount  of  value,  or  of  any  degree  of  worth- 
lessness.  They  may  be  inferences  of  such  accu- 
racy and  justice  as  to  command  the  respect  of 
the  most  critical ;  or  they  may  involve  impossi- 
bilities. The  extremes  are  the  best ;  the  former 
for  their  intrinsic  value,  the  latter  from  their 
unlikelihood  to  mislead.  The  most  dangerous 
are  the  intermediate.  Possibly,  plausible,  or,  at 
any  rate,  without  any  outward  and  visible  marks 
of  condemnation — 

"  They  lie  like  truth,  and  yet  most  truly  lie." 

What  proportion  do  these  ex  post  facto  tradi- 
tions bear  to  the  true  ones  ?  This  is  difficult  to 
say.  A  nickname,  a  genealogy,  a  tune  may  well 
be  transmitted  by  tradition.  So  may  charms, 
formulae,  proverbs,  and  poems  ;  yet  when  we 
come  to  proverbs  and  poems  we  are  on  the  do- 


main  of  unwritten  literature,  a  domain  which 
can  scarcely  be  identified  with  that  of  tradition. 
A  local  legend,  when  it  is  not  too  suspiciously 
adapted  to  the  features  of  the  place  to  which 
it  applies,  may  also  be  admitted  as  traditional. 
These  and  but  little  beyond.  Men  rarely  think 
about  transmitting  narratives  until  it  is  too  late 
for  an  authentic  account. 

On  the  other  hand,  the  very  mental  activity 
which  employs  itself  upon  the  attempt  to  ac- 
count for  an  unexplained  phenomenon  is  a  sign 
of  attention  ;  and  where  there  is  the  attention 
to  speculate,  there  is  likely  to  be  the  desire  to 
transmit.  If  so,  it  is  probable  that  the  propor- 
tion of  transmitted  speculations  to  true  tradi- 
tions is  immeasurably  large.  But  there  is  an 
other  reason  for  ignoring  the  so-called  traditions. 
When  there  is  a  tradition,  and  a  true  histori- 
cal record  as  well,  the  tradition  is  superfluous. 
When  a  tradition  stands  alone,  there  is  nothing 
to  confirm  it.  What  can  we  do  then?  To  assume 
the  fact  from  the  truth  of  the  tradition,  and  the 
truth  of  the  tradition  from  the  existence  of  the 
fact,  is  to  argue  in  a  circle.  Two  independent 
traditions,  however,  may  confirm  each  other. 
When  this  happens  the  case  is  improved ;  but, 
even  then,  they  may  be  but  similar  inferences 
from  the  same  premises. 

If,  then,  I  allow  no  inference  which  I  feel  my- 


self  justified  in  drawing  to  be  disturbed  by  any 
so-called  tradition  ;  and,  if  instead  of  seeing  in 
the  accounts  of  our  early  writers  a  narrative 
transmitted  by  word  of  mouth  in  lieu  of  a  re- 
cord registered  in  writing,  I  deal  with  such  ap- 
parent narratives  as  if  they  were  the  inferences 
of  some  later  chronicler,  I  must  not  be  accused 
of  undue  presumption.  The  statements  will  still 
be  treated  with  respect,  the  more  so,  perhaps, 
because  they  rest  on  induction  rather  than  tes- 
timony; and,  as  a  general  rule,  they  will  be  cre- 
dited with  the  merit  of  being  founded  on  just 
premises,  even  where  those  premises  do  not 
appear.  In  other  words,  every  writer  will  be 
thought  logical  until  there  are  reasons  for  sus- 
pecting  the  contrary.  For  a  true  and  genuine 
tradition,  however,  I  have  so  long  sought  in  vain, 
that  I  despair  of  ever  finding  one.  If  found,  it 
would  be  duly  appreciated.  On  the  other  hand, 
by  treating  their  counterfeits  as  inferences,  we 
improve  our  position  as  investigators.  A  fact 
we  must  take  as  it  is  told  us,  and  take  it  with- 
out any  opportunity  of  correction — all  or  none  ; 
whereas,  an  inference  can  be  scrutinized  and 
amended.  In  the  one  case  we  receive  instruc 
tions  from  which  we  are  forbidden  to  deviate 
in  the  other  we  act  as  judges,  with  a  power  t 
pronounce  decisions.  Nor  does  it  unfrequently 
happen  that  our  position  in  this  respect  is  better 


than  that  of  the  original  writer  ;  since,  however, 
many  may  be  the  facts  which  he  may  have  had 
for  his  opinion  beyond  those  which  he  has  trans- 
mitted to  posterity,  there  are  others  of  which  he 
must  have  been  ignorant,  and  with  which  we 
are  familiar.  Changing  the  expression,  where 
there  is  anything  like  an  equality  of  data,  the 
means  of  using  them  is  in  favour  of  the  later 
inquirer  as  against  the  earlier;  in  which  case  he 
understands  antiquity  better  than  the  ancients — 
presumptuous  as  the  doctrine  may  be.  With  a 
bond  fide  piece  of  testimony,  however  tradition- 
ary, documentary,  or  cotemporaneous,  the  case 
is  reversed,  and  the  modern  writer  must  listen 
to  his  senior  with  thankful  deference.  And  this 
it  is  that  makes  the  distinction  between  infer- 
ence and  evidence  so  important.  To  mistake  the 
former  for  the  latter  is  to  overvalue  antiquity 
and  exclude  ourselves  from  a  legitimate  and  fer- 
tile field  of  research.  To  confound  the  latter 
with  the  former,  is  to  raise  ourselves  into  criti- 
cism when  our  business  is  simply  to  interpret. 

Proceeding  to  details,  we  find  that  the  His- 
toria  GildcB  and  the  Epistola  Gildo3  are  the  two 
earliest  works  upon  Anglo-Saxon  Britain.  For 
reasons  which  will  soon  appear,  these  works  are 
referred  to  A.D.  550.  The  class  of  facts  for  which 
the  evidence  of  a  writer  of  this  date  is  wanted, 
is    that  which    contains  the  particulars  of  the 

116  GILD  AS. 

history  of  Britain  during  the  last  days  of  the 
Roman,  and  the  beginning  of  the  Anglo-Saxon 
domination.  Amongst  these,  the  more  import- 
ant would  be  the  rebellion  of  Maximus,  the  Pict 
and  Scot  inroads,  the  earliest  Germanic  invasions, 
and  the  subordination  of  the  Romans  to  the 
Saxons.  But  all  these  are  deeds  of  devastation, 
and,  as  |  such,  unfavourable  to  even  the  existence 
of  the  scanty  literature  necessary  to  record  them. 
Again,  there  were  two  other  changes,  equally  un- 
favourable to  the  preservation  of  records,  going 
on.  Pagan  or  Classical  literature  was  becoming 
Christian  or  Medieval,  whilst  the  Latin  or  Roman 
style  was  passing  into  Byzantine  and  Greek. 
Ammianus  Marcellinus,  the  last  of  the  Latin 
Pagan  historians,  was  cotemporary  with  the 
events  at  the  beginning  of  the  period  in  ques- 
tion. Procopius,  one  of  the  last  Pagan  writers 
of  Byzantium,  died  about  the  same  time  as 

Hence,  the  150  years — from  A.D.  400  to  550 
for  which  alone  the  history  of  Gildas  is  wanted, 
is  an  era  of  excessive  obscurity.     Are  the  merit; 
of  the   author   proportionate?     Is  the   light  he 
brings  commensurate  with  the  darkness  ?    What 
could  he  know?     What  does  be  tell?      He  tell 
so  little  that  the  question  as  to  the  value  of  his 
authorities  is  reduced  to  nearly  nothing;  and,  o 
that  little  which  we  learn  from  his  wordy  and 

GILD  AS.  117 

turgid  pages,  the  smallest  fraction  only  is  of  any 
ethnological  interest.  Indeed,  Gildas  is  most 
worth  notice  for  what  he  leaves  unsaid.  The  re- 
bellion of  Maximus  he  mentions;  but  he  is  not 
answerable  for  the  migration  from  Britain  to 
Brittany,  on  which  (as  already  stated)  so  much 
turns.  The  Saxons,  too,  he  mentions,  and  the 
name  of  Vortigern — but  he  is  not  answerable  for 
the  derivation  of  the  name  from  the  word  Sahs= 
dagger.  In  regard  to  the  important  question  as 
to  the  date  of  the  invasion,  and  the  number  of 
the  invaders,  he  fixes  150  years  before  his  own 
time,  and  gives  three  as  the  number  of  their  ves- 
sels (cyulce).  Aurelius  Ambrosius  and  the  Pugna 
Badonica  are  especially  alluded  to,  the  date  of 
the  latter  event  being  the  date  of  his  own  birth. 
As  this  is  an  event  which  he  might  have  known 
from  his  parents,  and  as  the  later  Roman  writers 
are  our  authorities  until  (there  or  thereabouts) 
the  death  of  Honorius,  it  remains  to  inquire 
upon  what  testimonies  Gildas  gave  the  few  events 
which  he  notices  between  the  years  417*  and 
5]  6.  Is  there  anything  which  by  suggesting  the 
existence  of  native  cotemporary  documents  should 
induce  us  to  consider  his  evidence  as  conclusive? 
I  think  not.    Such  may  or  may  not  have  existed, 

*  This  is  the  year  in  which  Orosius  concludes  his  history.  It 
leaves,  as  near  as  may  be,  a  century  between  the  last  of  the 
Roman  informants  and  the  birth  of  the  earliest  British. 

118  GILD  AS. 

the  presumption  being  for  or  against  them,  ac- 
cording to  the  view  which  the  inquirer  takes 
respecting  the  literary  and  civilizational  influ- 
ences of  the  expiring  Paganism  of  the  Romans, 
and  the  incipient  Christianity  of  the  early  British 
Church,  combined  with  the  antiquity  of  the  ear- 
liest British  and  Irish  records — a  wide  and  com- 
plex subject,  if  treated  generally,  but  if  viewed 
with  reference  to  the  specific  case  before  us  (the 
authorities  of  Gildas),  a  narrow  one. 

In  the  case  of  Gildas  it  is  perfectly  unnecessary 
to  assume  anything  of  the  kind.  The  only  ma- 
terial facts  which  he  gives  us  are  the  letter  to 
^Etius  for  assistance,  and  a  notice  of  the  place 
which  Vortigern  finds  in  the  downfall  of  the 
Romano-British  empire.  The  first  of  these  points 
to  Rome  rather  than  to  Britain;  the  second  is 
from  the  life  of  a  Gallic  missionary — St.  Germa- 
nus  of  Auxerre.  To  this  may  be  added  the  high 
probability  of  Gildas'  work  having  been  written 
in  Gaul ;  a  fact  which,  undoubtedly,  subtracts 
from  the  little  value  it  might  otherwise  possess. 

The  next  is  an  author  of  a  very  different  ca- 
libre, the  venerable  Beda;  concerning  whom  we 
must  remember  that  he  stands  in  contrast  to 
Gildas  from  being  Anglo-Saxon  rather  than  Bri- 
tish. Now,  his  history  is  Ecclesiastical  and  not 
Civil ;  so  that  ethnological  questions  make  no  part 
of  his  inquiries,  and,  as  far  as  they  are  treated 

BED  A.  119 

at  all,  they  are  treated  incidentally.  Whatever 
may  have  been  the  records  of  the  Romano-British 
Church,  or  the  compositions  of  Romano-British 
writers,  they  form  no  part  of  the  materials  of 
Beda.  The  most  he  says  that,  from  writings  and 
traditions  along  with  the  information  derived 
from  the  monks  of  the  Abbey  of  Lestingham,  he 
wrote  that  part  of  his  work  which  gives  an  ac- 
count of  the  Christianity  of  the  kingdom  of 
Mercia  For  the  other  parts  of  the  kingdom  he 
chiefly  applied  to  the  Bishop  of  the  Diocese;  to 
Albinus  for  the  antiquities  of  Kent  and  Essex; 
and  to  Daniel  for  those  of  Wessex,  the  Isle  of 
Wight,  and  Sussex.  For  Lincolnshire  he  had 
viva  voce  information  from  Cynebert,  and  the 
monks  of  the  Abbey  of  Partney ;  and  for  North- 
umberland he  made  his  inquiries  himself.  Now 
as  Christianity  was  first  introduced  into  Anglo- 
Saxon  England  by  Augustine,  A.D.  597,  the  era  of 
the  Germanic  invasions  lies  beyond  the  evidence 
of  either  Beda  or  his  authorities.  Gildas,  and  the 
sources  of  Gildas  he  knew;  but  of  access  to  na- 
tive records  of  the  fifth  century — the  century  for 
which  they  are  most  wanted — or  of  the  existence 
of  such,  no  trace  occurs  in  the  Historia  Ecclesias- 
tica,  except  in  the  two  doubtful  cases  which  will 
appear  in  the  sequel.* 

In  Nennius,  more  than  in  any  other  writer,  do 

*  The  origin  of  the  Picts  and  Scots. 

1 20  NENNIUS. 

we  find  it  necessary  to  assume  the  existence  of 
any  previous  historians,  upon  whose  authority  the 
facts  of  the  times  between  the  cessation  of  the 
Roman  supremacy,  and  the  consolidation  of  the 
Anglo-Saxon  power  may  be  received ;  and  in 
Nennius  we  must,  for  many  reasons,  admit  it. 
In  the  first  place,  he  mentions  more  than  one  cir- 
cumstance which  he  could  not  well  have  got  from 
any  other  source ;  in  the  next,  the  preface  says 
that  what  has  been  done  has  been  done  "  partim 
majorum  traditionibus ;  partem  scriptis;  partim 
etiam  monumentis  veterum  Britannise  incolarum ; 
partim  et  de  annalibus  Romanorum.  Insuper 
et  de  chronicis  sanctorum  Patrum,  Ysidori,  scilicet 
Hieronymi,  Prosperi,  Eusebii,  necnon  et  de  his- 
toriis  Scotorum  Saxonumque,  inimicorum  licet, 
non  ut  volui,  sed  ut  potui,  meorum  obtemperans 
jussionibus  seniorum,  unam  hanc  historiunculam 
undecunque  collectam  balbutiendo  coacervari." 
But,  it  should  be  added  that  the  authenticity  of 
the  preface  is  doubtful. 

Nennius,  then,  most  introduces  the  question  as 
to  the  value  of  the  narratives  of  the  events  of  the 
fifth  century.  I  cannot  but  put  it  exceedingly 
low.  Of  any  historian,  properly  so  called,  there 
is  not  a  trace.  Neither  is  there  of  regular  annals, 
a  point  which  will  soon  be  considered  more  fully. 
Nor  yet  of  any  of  even  the  humbler  forms  of 
narrative  poetry ;   though  this  is  a  point  upon 

NENNIU&  121 

which  I  speak  with  hesitation.  I  base  my  opinion, 
however,  upon  the  notices  of  the  two  chief  epochs 
— that  of  Vorfeern  and  that  of  Kinor  Arthur. 

O  O 

The  first  is  from  the  life  of  St.  Germanus,  the 
second  is  an  unadorned  enumeration  of  three 
campaigns,  with  as  little  of  the  appearance  of 
being  derived  from  a  poetic  source  as  is  possible. 

Several  genealogies  occur  in  Nennius;  and  it 
often  happens  that  genealogies  are  useful  ele- 
ments of  criticism.  British  ethnology,  however, 
is  not  the  department  in  which  their  value  is 
most  conspicuous. 

How  far  were  the  traditions  of  Nennius  of  any 
worth?  The  following  is  a  specimen  of  them. 
"The  Britons  were  named  after  Brutus;  Brutus 
was  the  son  of  Hisicion,  Hisicion  of  Alanus,  Al- 
anus  of  Rea  Silvia,  Rea  Silvia  of  Numa,  Numa  of 
Pamphilus,  Pamphilus  of  Ascanius,  Ascanius  of 
zEneas,  zEneas  of  Anchises,  Anchises  of  Tros,  Tros 
of  Dardanus,  the  son  of  Flire,  the  son  of  Javan, 
the  son  of  Japhet.  This  Japhet  had  seven  sons ; 
the  first  Gomer,  from  whom  came  the  Gauls ;  the 
second  Magog,  from  whom  came  the  Scythians 
and  Goths;  the  third  Aialan,  from  whom  came 
the  Medes ;  the  fourth  Javan,  whence  the  Greeks ; 
the  fifth  Tubal,  whence  the  Hebrews  ;  the  sixth 
Mesech,  whence  the  Cappadocians ;  the  seventh 
Troias,  whence  the  Thracians.  These  are  the  sons 
of  Japhet,  the  son  of  Noah,  the  son  of  Lamech. 

122  NENNIUS. 

I  will  now  return  to  the  point  whence   I   de- 

The  first  man  of  the  race  of  Japhet  came  to 
Europe,  Alanus  by  name,  with  his  three  sons. 
Their  names  were  Ysicion,  Armenon,  and  Neguo. 
Ysicion  had  four  sons,  their  names  were  Frank, 
Roman,  Alemann,  and  Briton,  from  whom  Britain 
was  first  inhabited.  But  Armenon  had  five  sons. 
These  are  Goth,  Walagoth,  Cebid,  Burgundian, 
Longobard.  Neguo  had  four  sons,  Wandal,  Saxon, 
Bogar,  Turk.  From  Hisicio  the  first-born  of  Alan, 
arose  four  natives,  the  Franks,  the  Latins,  the 
Alemanns,  and  the  Britons.  From  Armenon,  the 
second  son  of  Alan,  came  the  Goths,  the  Vandals, 
the  Cebidi,  and  the  Longobards.  From  Neguo, 
the  third,  the  Bogars,  Vandals,  Saxons,  and  Ta- 
rincL  But  these  nations  were  subdivided  over  all 
Europe.  Alanius,  however,  as  they  say,  was  the 
son  of  Sethevir,  the  son  of  Ogomnum,  the  son  of 
Thois,  the  son  of  Boib,  the  son  of  Simeon,  the 
son  of  Mair,  the  son  of  Ethac,  the  son  of  Luothar, 
the  son  of  Ecthel,  the  son  of  Oothz,  the  son  of 
Aborth,  the  son  of  Ra,  the  son  of  Esra,  the  son  of 
Israu,  the  son  of  Barth,  the  son  of  Jonas,  the  son 
of  Jabath,  the  son  of  Japhet,  the  son  of  Noah,  the 
son  of  Lamech,  the  son  of  Methusalem,  the  son  of 
Enoch,  the  son  of  Jareth,  the  son  of  Malalel,  the 
son  of  Cainan,  the  son  of  Enos,  the  son  of  Seth, 
the  son  of  Adam,  the  son  of  the  living  God/' 


Surely  this  is  but  a  piece  of  book-learning  spoilt 
in  the  application.      Yet  what  says  the  author? 

"  This  genealogy  I  found  in  the  traditions  of 
the  ancients,  who  were  the  inhabitants  of  Britain 
in  the  earliest  times/' — Historia  Britonum,  cap. 

The  next  two  works  are  chronicles,  so-called  ; 
one  British  and  one  Anglo-Saxon ;  the  Annates 
Cambria?  and  the  Saxon  Chronicle. 

The  notices  of  the  Annates  Cambria?  are  re- 
markably brief  and  scanty.  It  has  scarcely  one 
for  every  second  year,  and  what  it  has  is  short 
and  unimportant. 

It  begins  with  A.D.  447,  and  ends  with  the 
Norman  Conquest.  It  is  closely  confined  to  the 
events  of  Wales. 

The  date  and  authorship  are  uncertain.  Of 
the  three  MSS.  which  supply  the  text,  one  is 
said  to  be  as  old  as  A.D.  954 

When  the  entries  began  to  be  cotemporary 
with  the  events  registered  is  uncertain  ;  indeed, 
there  is  no  proof  that  they  are  so  anywhere.  On 
the  other  hand,  they  cannot  be  earlier  than  A.D. 
521,  since  the  event  registered  there  is  the  birth 
of  St.  Columba.  Now  the  entry  of  the  birth  of 
an  illustrious  personage  is  not  likely  to  be  a 
cotemporaueous  entry ;  since  his  greatness  has 
yet  to  be  achieved,  and  it  is  only  the  spirit  of 
prophecy   and   anticipation  that    such  a  record 

124  •        ANNALES   CAMBRLE. 

would  be  made  at  the  time  he  merely  came  into 
the  world. 

The  year  522,  then,  is  the  earliest  possible  co- 
temporary  entry,  and  this  is,  most  likely,  much 
too  early. 

But  the  work  has  not  the  appearance  of  being 
a  register  of  cotemporaneous  events  at  all.  In 
such  a  composition  the  idlest  chronicler  would 
find  something  to  say  under  each  year,  and  notices 
of  either  local  events,  or  the  great  events  of 
general  interest,  could  scarcely  fail  to  be  entered. 
No  one,  however,  will  say  that  such  a  series  of 
entries  as  the  following  from  A.D.  501  to  A.D.  601, 
can  ever  have  constituted  cotemporary  history. 

LVII.  Annus.  Episcopus  Ebur  pausat  in 
Christo,  anno  cccl.  setatis  suae. 

LVIII.     Annus. 

LXXI.     Annus. 

LXXII.  Annus.  Bellum  Badonis  in  quo 
Arthur  portavit  crucem  Domini  nostri  Jesu 
Christi  tribus  diebus  et  tribus  noctibus  in  hume- 
ros  suos,  et  Brittones  victores  fuerunt. 

LXXIII.     Annus. 

LXXVI.     Annus. 

LXXVIL  Annus.  Sanctus  Columcille  nasci- 
tur.     Quies  Sanctse  Brigidse. 

LXXVIL     Annus. 

XCII.     Annus. 

XCIIL      Annus.      Gueith   Camlann,    in    qua 


Arthur  et  Medraut  corruere ;  et  mortalitas  in 
Brittannia  et  Hibernia  fait. 

XCLIV.     Annus. 

XCIX.     Annus. 

C.     Annus.     Dormitatio  Ciarani. 

CI.  Annus. 

CII.     Annus. 

CIII.  Annus.  Mortalitas  magna,  in  qua 
pausat  Mailcun  rex  Genedotse. 

CIV.     Annus. 

CXIII.     Annus. 

CXIY.  Annus.  Gabran  filius  Dungart  moritur. 

CXV.     Annus. 

CXVII.     Annus. 

CXVIII.  Annus.  Columcille  in  Brittania 

CXIX.     Annus. 

CXX.     Annus. 

CXXI.  Annus.  [Navigatio  Gil  das  in  Hibernia,] 

CXXII.     Annus. 

CXXIV.     Annus. 

CXXV.  Annus.  [Synodus  Victorias  apud  Bri- 
tones  congregatur.] 

CXXVI.     Annus  Gildas  obiit. 

CXXVII.     Annus. 

CXXVIII.     Annus. 

CXXIX.  Bellum  Armterid.  [Inter  filios  Elifer 
et  Guendoleu,  filium  Keidiau,  in  quo  bello  Guen- 
doleu  cecidet ;  Merlinus  insanus  effectus  est.] 


CXXX.     Annus.      Brendan  Byror  dormitatio. 

CXXXI.     Annus. 

CXXXV.     Annus. 

CXXXVI.  Annus.  Guurci  et  Peretur  [filii 
Elifer]  moritur. 

CXXXVII.     Annus. 

CXXXIX.     Annus. 

CXL.  Annus.  Bellum  contra  Euboniam,  et 
dispositio  Danielis  Banchorum. 

CXLI.     Annus. 

CXLIV.     Annus. 

CXLV.  Annus.  Conversio  Constantini  ad 

CXLVI.     Annus. 

GXLIX.     Annus. 

CL.     Annus.     [Edilbertus  in  Anglia  rexit.] 

CLI.  Annus.  Columcille  moritur.  Dunaut 
rex  moritur.  Agustinus  Mellitus  Anglos  ad 
Christum  convertit. 

CLII.     Annus. 

CXLIX.     Annus. 

CLVII.  Annus.  Synodus  Urbis  Legion.  Gre- 
gorius  obiit  in  Cliristo.  David  Episcopus  Moni 

The  notices  between  the  brackets  are  not  found 
in  the  Harleian  MS. — one  of  three. 

The  years  are  counted  from  the  commencement 
of  the  Annals,  which,  from  circumstances  inde- 
pendent of  the  text,  is  fixed  AD.  444.     Hence, 


lvii  and  clvii,  coincide  with  AD.  501,  and  A.D.  601, 
respectively.  It  is  not  until  the  last  quarter  of 
the  tenth  century  that  the  entries  notably  improve 
in  fulness  and  frequency;  during  which  period 
the  table  was  probably  composed, — the  earlier 
dates  being  put  down  not  because  they  were  of 
either  local  or  general  importance,  but  because 
they  were  known  to  the  writer.  Such,  at  least, 
is  the  inference  from  the  style.  Lives  of  Saints 
may  have  furnished  them  all.  They  agree  more 
or  less  with  the  Irish  Annals,  and,  probably,  are 
to  a  great  extent  taken  from  the  same  sources. 

The  Annates  Cambrenses  contain  few  or  no 
facts  directly  bearing  upon  the  ethnology  of  Great 
Britain,  except  so  far  as  the  existence  of  a  lite- 
rary composition,  of  a  given  antiquity,  is  the 
measure  of  the  civilization  of  the  country  to 
which  it  belongs. 

One  of  its  entries,  however,  has  an  indirect 
bearing.  The  value  of  Gildas  depends  upon  the 
time  at  which  he  wrote.  We  have  already  seen 
that  a  small  piece  of  autobiography  in  his  his- 
tory tells  us  that  he  was  born  in  the  year  of  the 
Bellum  Badonicum.  Now  the  date  of  this  is 
got  from  the  Annales  Cambrenses,  A.D.  516. 
There  is  no  reason  to  believe  it  other  than  ac- 

It  were  well  if  such  a  composition  as  the 
Annales  Cambria}  were  called  (what  it  really  is) 



a  list  of  dates ;  since  the  word  chronicle  has  a 
dangerous  tendency  to  engender  a  very  uncritical 
laxity  of  thought.  It  continually  gets  mistaken 
for  a  register ;  yet  the  two  sorts  of  composition 
are  wholly  different.  That  the  habit  of  making 
cotemporaneous  entries  of  events  as  they  happen, 
just  as  incumbents  of  parishes,  each  in  his  order 
of  succession,  enter  the  births,  deaths,  and  mar- 
riages of  their  parishioners,  should  exist  in  such 
institutions  as  religious  monasteries  or  civil  guild- 
halls, is  by  no  means  unlikely.  But,  then,  on 
the  other  hand,  there  is  an  equal  likelihood  of 
nothing  of  the  sort  being  attempted.  Hence, 
when  a  work  reaches  posterity  in  the  shape  of 
a  chronicle  or  annals,  its  antiquity  and  value 
must  be  judged  on  its  own  merits,  rather  than 
according  to  any  preconceived  opinions. 

In  mechanics  nothing  is  stronger  than  its 
weakest  part,  and  it  would  be  well  if  a  similar 
apothegm  could  be  extended  to  the  criticism  of 
such  compositions  as  the  Annales  Cambriae,  and 
the  Saxon  Chronicle.  It  would  be  well  if  we 
could  say  that  in  chronological  tables  nothing 
was  earlier  than  the  latest  entry.  In  common 
histories  we  do  this.  The  common  historian  is 
always  supposed  to  have  composed  Iris  work  sub- 
sequent to  the  date  of  the  latest  event  contained 
in  it — a  few  exceptions  only  being  made  for 
those  authors  whose  works  treat  of  cotemporary 


actions.  So  it  is  with  the  annalist  whose  Annals, 
more  ambitious  in  form  than  the  bare  chronicle, 
emulate,  like  those  of  the  great  Roman  historian, 
the  style  of  history.  But  it  is  not  so  when  the 
notices  pass  a  certain  limit,  and  become  short 
and  scanty.  They  then  suggest  a  comparison 
with  the  parish  register,  or  the  Olympic  records, 
and  change  then  character  altogether.  No  longer 
mere  chronological  works,  emanating  from  the 
pen  of  a  single  author,  and  referrible  to  some 
single  generation,  subsequent,  in  general,  to  a 
majority  of  the  events  set  down  in  them,  they 
are  the  productions  of  a  series  of  writers,  each 
of  whom  is  a  registrar  of  cotemporary  events. 
By  this  an  undue  value  attaches  itself  to  works 
which  have  nothing  in  common  with  the  regis- 
ter but  the  form. 

Now,  if  genuine  traditions  are  scarce,  real  re- 
gisters are  scarcer.  In  both  cases,  however,  the 
false  wears  the  garb  of  the  true,  and,  in  both 
cases,  writers  shew  an  equal  repugnance  to  scru- 
tiny. This  is  to  be  regretted  ;  since  with  nine 
out  of  ten  of  the  chronicles  that  have  come  down 
to  us,  it  is  far  more  certain  that  their  latest  facts 
are  earlier  in  date  than  the  author  who  records 
them,  than  that  the  earliest  possible  author  can 
have  been  cotemporary  with  the  first  recorded 
events.  The  Anglo-Saxon  Chronicle  may  illus- 
trate this.     It  ends  in  the  reign  of  Stephen  ;  yet 



the  writer  of  even  the  last  page  may  have  been 
anything  but  a  cotemporary  with  the  events  it 
embodies.  It  begins  with  the  invasion  of  Julius 
Caesar.  A  cotemporary  entry — the  essential  ele- 
ment of  registration — is  out  of  the  question  here. 

The  general  rule  with  compositions  of  the  kind 
in  question  is,  that  they  fall  into  two  parts,  the 
first  of  which  cannot  be  of  equal  antiquity  with 
the  events  recorded,  the  second  of  which  may  be  ; 
and  we  are  only  too  fortunate  when  satisfactory 
proofs  of  cotemporary  composition  enable  us  to 
convert  the  possible  into  the  probable,  the  pro- 
bable into  the  certain — the  may  into  the  must. 
Even  when  this  is  the  case,  the  proportions  of 
the  cotemporary  to  the  non-cotemporary  state- 
ments are  generally  uncertain  —  a  question  of 
more  or  less,  that  must  be  settled  by  the  exami- 
nation of  the  particular  composition  under  con- 

Whatever  may  be  the  other  merits  of  the  An- 
nates Cambria},  it  has  no  claim  to  the  title  of  a 
register  during  the  sixth  century — and,  a  fortiori 
none  during  the  fifth. 

Neither  has  the  Saxon  Chronicle.  We  infei 
this  from  the  extent  to  which  it  follows  Bed? 
We  infer  it,  too,  still  more  certainly  from  th< 
following  passage — a  passage  which,  if  made  ii 
the  year  under  which  it  is  found,  would  be  ik 
record  but  a  prophecy. 


A.D.  595. — "This  year  iEthelbriht  succeeded  to 
the  kingdom  of  the  Kentish  men,  and  held  it 
fifty-three  years.  In  his  days  the  Holy  Pope 
Gregory  sent  us  baptism.  That  was  in  the  two- 
and-thirtieth  year  of  his  reign  ;  and  Columba,  a 
mass-priest,  came  to  the  Picts  and  converted  them 
to  the  faith  of  Christ.  They  are  dwellers  by  the 
northern  mountains.  And  their  king  gave  him 
the  island  which  is  called  Hi.  Therein  are  fine 
hides  of  land,  as  men  say.  There  Columba  built 
a  monastery,  and  he  was  abbot  there  thirty-two 
years,  and  there  he  died  when  he  was  seventy- 
seven  years  old.  His  successors  still  have  the 
place.  The  Southern  Picts  had  been  baptized 
long  before  ;  Bishop  Ninias,  who  had  been  in- 
structed at  Rome,  had  preached  baptism  to  them, 
whose  church  and  monastery  is  at  Hwithern, 
hallowed  in  the  name  of  St.  Martin ;  there  he 
resteth  with  many  holy  men.  Now,  in  Hi 
there  must  ever  be  an  abbot  and  not  a  bishop ; 
and  all  the  Scottish  bishops  ought  to  be  sub- 
ject to  him,  because  Columba  was  an  abbot,  not 
a  bishop." 

Similar  notices,  impossible,  without  a  vast 
amount  of  gratuitous  assumption,  to  be  con- 
sidered cotemporaneous,  are  of  frequent  occur- 
rence until  long  after  the  consolidation  of  the 
Anglo-Saxon  power  in  England ;  but  as  the 
events  of  the  fifth  and  sixth  centuries  are  the 


only  events  of  ethnological  importance,  the  notice 
of  them  is  limited. 

The  Welsh  poems  attributed  to  the  bards  of 
the  sixth  and  seventh  centuries,  contain  no  facts 
that  will  make  part  of  any  of  our  reasonings  in 
the  sequel.  Their  existence  is,  of  course,  a  mea- 
sure of  the  intellectual  calibre  of  the  time  (what- 
ever that  may  be)  to  which  they  refer.  But  this 
is  not  before  us  now. 

In  respect  to  the  value  of  the  Irish  annals,  the 
civil  historian  has  a  far  longer  list  of  problems 
than  the  ethnologist ;  since  the  latter  wants  their 
testimony  upon  a  few  points  only,  e.  g,,  1.  The 
origin  of  the  proper  Irish  themselves  ;  2.  the 
affinities  of  the  Picts  ;  3.  the  migration  (real  or 
supposed)  of  the  Scots.  These,  at  least,  are  the 
chief  points.  Others,  of  course,  such  as  the  de- 
tails concerning  the  Danes,  can  be  found ;  but 
the  ones  in  question  are  the  chief. 

In  respect  to  the  first,  whoever  reads  Dr.  Prich- 
ard's*  account  of   the   contents  of  the  earliest 
chronicles,  consisting,  amongst  other  matters,  oi 
an  antediluvian  Csesar ;  a  landing  of  ParthoL 
nus  with  his  wife  Ealga,  on  the  coast  of  Conn* 
mara,  twelve  years  after  the  Deluge,  and  on  the 
14th  of  May ;  the  colony  of  the  Neimhidh,  de 
scendants  of  Gog  and  Magog ;  the  Fir-Bolg  froi 
the  Thrace  ;  the  Tuatha  de  Danann  from  Athens 
*  Vol.  iii,  pp.  140—147. 


and,  above  all,  the  famous  Milesians,  amongst 
whom  was  Nial,  the  intimate  of  Moses  and 
Aaron,  and  the  husband  of  Scota  the  daughter 
of  Pharaoh,  will  soon  satisfy  himself  that,  with 
the  exception  of  a  little  weight  which  may  pos- 
sibly be  due  to  the  prominence  which  the  Spanish 
Peninsula  takes  in  the  several  legends,  the  whole 
mass  is  so  utterly  barren  in  historical  results, 
that  criticism  would  be  misplaced. 

But  the  Pict  and  Scot  questions  are  in  a  dif- 
ferent predicament.  Like  the  Roman  and  Anglo- 
Saxon  conquests  of  Britain,  the  events  connected 
with  them  may  have  occurred  within  the  Histori- 
cal period — provided  only  that  that  period  begin 
early  enough. 

How  far  this  may  be  the  case  with  the  Irish 
annals  is  a  reasonable  question. 

That  any  existing  series  of  Irish  annals  ante 
rior  to  the  time  of  the  earliest  extant  annalist, 
Tigernach,  who  lived  in  the  eleventh  century,  is 
cotemporary  with  the  events  which  it  records, 
so  as  to  partake  of  the  nature  of  a  register,  is 
what  no  one  has  asserted;  and  hence  their  credit 
rests  upon  that  of  such  earlier  records  as  may  be 
supposed  to  have  served  as  their  basis. 

These  may  be  poems,  genealogies,  or  chronicles ; 
all  of  which  may  be  admitted  to  have  existed. 
How  long?  In  a  more  or  less  imperfect  form 
from  the  introduction  of  Christianity.    Is  this  the 


extreme  limit  in  the  way  of  antiquity?  Pro- 
bably; perhaps  certainly.  Out  of  all  the  numer- 
ous pieces  of  verse  quoted  by  the  annalists,  one 
only  carries  us  back  to  a  Pagan  period,  and  even 
this  is  referred  to  a  year  subsequent  to  the  intro- 
duction of  Christianity.  An  extract  from  the 
annals  of  the  Four  Masters  is  as  follows,  a.d. 
458,  twenty-seven  years  after  the  first  arrival  of 
St.  Patrick  "after  Laogar,  the  son  of  Nial  of  the 
Nine  Hostages,  had  reigned  in  Ireland  thirty 
years,  he  was  killed  in  the  country  of  Caissi  (?) 
between  Eri  and  Albyn,  i.  e.,  the  two  hills  in  the 
country  of  the  Faolain,  and  the  Sun  and  Wind 
killed  him,  for  he  violated  them;  whence  the 
poet  sings — 

"  Laogar  M'Nial  died  in  Caissi  the  green  land, 
The  elements  of  divine  things,  by  the  oath  which  he  violated, 
inflicted  the  doom  of  death  on  the  king." 

The  genealogies  are  generally  contained  in  the 

As  to  annals  partaking  of  the  nature  of  regis- 
ters the  language  of  the  extant  compositions  is 
unfavourable.  They  are  mentioned,  of  course ; 
but  it  is  always  some  one's  collection  of  some- 
thing before  his  time — never  the  original  cotem- 
porary  documents.  Now  the  compiler  is  Cormac 
Mc  Arthur,  now  St.  Patrick.  The  manner  of  their 
mention  in  the  Four  Masters  is  as  follows : — 

"A.  D.  266  was  the  fortieth  year   of  Cormac 


Mc  Arthur  McConn  over  the  kingdom  of  Ireland, 
until  he  died  at  Clete,  after  a  salmon-bone  had 
stuck  in  his  throat,  from  old  prophecies  which 
Malgon  the  Druid  had  made  against  him,  after 
Cormac  turned  against  the  Druids  on  account  of 
his  manner  of  adoring  God  without  them.  For 
that  reason  the  Devil  (Diabul)  tempted  him 
(Malgenn)  through  the  instigation,  until  he  caus- 
ed his  death.  It  was  Cormac  who  composed  the 
precepts  to  be  observed  by  kings,  the  manners, 
tribute,  and  ordinations  of  kings.  He  was  a  wise 
man  in  laws,  and  in  things  chronological  and  his- 
torical, for  it  was  he  who  invented  the  laws  of  the 
judgments,  and  the  right  principles  in  all  bar- 
gains, also  the  tributes,  so  that  there  was  a  law 
which  bound  all  men  even  unto  the  present  time. 
This  Cormac  Mc  Arthur  was  he  who  collected  the 
Chronicle  of  Ireland  into  one  place,  Tara,  until  he 
formed  from  them  the  Chronicles  of  Ireland  in 
one  book,  which  was  called  (afterwards)  the  Psal- 
ter of  Tara.  In  that  book  were  the  events  and 
synchronisms  of  the  kings  of  Ireland  with  the 
kings  and  emperors  of  the  world,  and  of  the 
kings  of  the  provinces  with  the  kings  of  Ireland." 
A  work  of  this  kind,  possible  enough  in  Alex- 
andria, is  surely  in  need  of  very  definite  and  un- 
exceptionable testimony  to  make  it  credible  as 
a  piece  of  Irish  history  The  truly  historical  fact 
contained  in  the  extract  is  the  existence  of  a  book, 


at  the  time  of  the  Four  Masters,  with  a  Christian 
title,  and  Pagan  contents. 

To  assume  anything  beyond  the  existence  of 
early  biographies  of  the  early  propagators  of 
Irish  Christianity  is  unnecessary.  These  had  an 
undoubted  existence;  sometimes  in  prose,  some- 
times in  verse  ;  and  it  is  these  that  the  annalists 
themselves  chiefly  refer  to ;  the  character  of 
whose  notices  may  be  collected  from  the  follow- 
ing extracts  relating  to  the  first  arrival  of  St. 

"A.  D.  430. — The  second  year  of  Laogar.  In  this 
year  Pope  Celestine  first  sent  Palladius,  the 
bishop,  to  Ireland,  to  preach  the  faith  to  the 
Irish,  and  there  came  with  him  twelve  compa- 
nions. Nathe,  the  son  of  Garchon,  opposed  him. 
Going  onwards,  however,  he  baptized  many  in 
Ireland ;  and  three  churches,  built  of  wood,  were 
built  by  him,  the  White  Church,  the  House  of 
the  Romans,  and  Domnach  Arta  (Dominica 
Alia).  In  the  "White  Church  he  left  his  books, 
and  a  desk  with  the  relics  of  Paul,  Peter,  and 
many  other  martyrs.  He  left,  too,  in  the  churches 
after  him  these  four,  Augustinus,  Benedictus, 
Silvester,  and  Solonius,  whilst  Palladius  was  re- 
turning to  Rome,  because  he  found  not  the 
honour  due  to  him,  when  disease  seized  him  in 
the  country  of  the  Picts  (Cruithnech),  and  he 
died  there/' — Annals  of  the  Four  Masters. 


Again — 

"A.D.  431.  The  fourth  year  of  Laogar.  Patrick 
came  to  Ireland  this  }rear,  and  imparted  baptism 
and  blessing  to  the  Irish,  men,  women,  sons,  and 
daughters,  except  those  who  were  unwilling  to 
receive  baptism  or  faith  from  him,  as  his  life  re- 
lates (ut  narrat  ejus  vita).  The  church  of  An- 
trim was  founded  by  Patrick,  after  its  donation 
from  Feiim  the  son  of  Laogar,  the  son  of  Nial,  to 
him,  to  Loman,  and  to  Fortchern.  Flann  of  the 
monastery  has  sung — 

"Patrick,  abbot  of  all  Ireland,  McCalphrain,  McFotaide, 
McDeisse,  the  withholder  of  testimony  to  falsehood,  McCor- 

mac  Mor,  McLeibriuth, 
McOta,  McOrric  the  Good,  McMaurice,  McLeo  of  the  church, 
McMaximua  the  Mournful,  McEncret,  the  Noble,  the  Illus- 
McPhilist  the  Best  of  All,  McFeren  the  Blameless, 
Mc  Britain  the  Famous  by  Sea,  whence  the  Britons  strong 

by  sea, 
Cochnias  his  mother  the  Noble,  Nemthor  his  city,  the  War- 
like ; 
In  Momonia  his  portion  is  not  denied,  which  he  acquired  at 
the  prayers  of  Patrick." 

In  the  Books  of  the  Schools  on  Divine  Things 
the  rest  of  this  poem  is  to  be  found,  i.e.,  De  Mi- 
rabilibus  Familise  Patricii  Orationum." 

The  value  due  to  a  series  of  Lives  of  Saints 
may  be  allowed  to  the  Irish  Annals  subsequent 
to  A.D.  430;  and  isolated  events,  without  much 
reference  to  their  importance,  is  what  we  get  from 


them.  As  soon  as  Christianity  introduces  the 
use  of  letters,  we  see  our  way  to  the  preservation 
of  the  records,  and  the  dawning  of  history  begins. 

If  the  annals  of  the  Christian  period  rest  almost 
wholly  on  Christian  records,  what  can  be  the  au- 
thority of  the  still  earlier  histories.  Separate  sub- 
stantive proof  of  the  existence  of  early  historians, 
or  early  poets  there  is  none.  We  only  assume  it 
from  the  events  narrated.  We  also  assume  the 
event  from  the  narrative ;  and,  so  doing,  argue 
in  a  circle.  The  fact  from  the  statement,  and  the 
statement  from  the  fact.  Such  is  too  often  the 

An  additional  century  of  antiquity  may  be 
gained  by  admitting  the  existence  of  an  imper- 
fect Christianity  in  Ireland  anterior  to  the  time 
of  St.  Patrick — though  the  evidence  to  it  is  ques- 
tionable. The  annals  anterior  to  A.D.  340  will 
still  stand  over.  They  fall  into  two  divisions ; 
the  impossible,  or  self-confuting,  and  the  possible. 
The  latter  extend  over  seven  centuries  from  about 
B.C.  308  to  A.D.  430.  The  former  go  back  to  the 
Creation,  and  are  given  up  as  untrustworthy  by 
the  native  annalists  themselves. 

The  early  annals  of  the  class  in  question  which 
give  us  possible  events,  if  they  existed  at  all,  must 
have  been  in  Irish.  They  must  also  have  been 
more  or  less  known  to  King  Cormac  Mc  Arthur. 
They  imply,  too,  the  use  of  an  alphabet.     St.  Pa- 


trick,  too,  must  have  known  them  ;  as  is  implied 
by  the  following  extract : — 
a.d.  "  The  tenth  year  of  Laogar.  The  history 
438-  and  laws  of  Ireland  purified  and  written 
out  from  old  collections,  and  from  the  old  books 
of  Ireland  which  were  brought  together  to  one 
place  at  the  asking  of  St.  Patrick.  These  are  the 
nine  wise  authors  who  did  this.  Laogar,  King  of 
Ireland,  Corcc,  and  Daire,  three  kings;  Patrick, 
Benin,  Benignus  (Benin),  and  Carnech,  three 
Saints ;  Ros,  Dubthach,  and  Fergus,  three  histo- 
rians, as  the  old  distich — 

"  Laogar,  Corccus,  Daire  the  Hard, 
Patrick,  Benignus,  Carnech  the  Mild, 
Ros,  Dubthach,  Fergus,  a  thing  known, 
Are  the  nine  Authors  of  the  Great  History." 

The  Welsh  antiquarian  may,  perhaps,  observe 
that  this  likeness  to  the  Triads  is  suspicious,  a 
view  to  which  he  may  find  plenty  of  confirmation 

Neither  is  it  too  much  to  say  that  such  old 
poems  as  are  quoted  in  respect  to  the  events  of 
the  second  and  third  centuries,  are  apparently 
quoted  as  Virgil's  description  of  Italy  under 
Evander  might  be  quoted  by  a  writer  of  the 
Middle  Ages. 

The  events  recorded  are,  as  a  general  rule,  pro- 
bable; but  they  cannot  be  considered  real  until 
we  see  our  way  to  the  evidence  by  which  they 


could  be  transmitted.  The  probable  is  as  often 
untrue,  as  the  true  is  improbable.  The  question 
in  all  these  points  is  one  of  testimony. 

The  most  satisfactory  view  of  that  period  of 
Irish  antiquity,  which  is,  at  one  and  the  same 
time,  anterior  to  the  introduction  of  Christianity, 
and  subsequent  to  the  earliest  mention  of  Ireland 
by  Greek,  Latin,  and  British  writers,  is  that  the 
sources  of  its  history  were  compositions  composed 
out  of  Ireland,  but  containing  notices  of  Irish 
events;  in  which  case  the  Britons  and  Romans 
have  written  more  about  Ireland  than  the  Irish 
themselves.  This  is  an  inference  partly  from  the 
presumptions  of  the  case,  and  partly  from  internal 

Prichard,  after  Sharon  Turner,  has  remarked 
that  the  legend  of  Partholanus  is  found  in  Nen- 

The  Welsh  name  Arthur,  strange  to  Ireland, 
except  during  the  period  in  question,  is  promi- 
nent in  the  third  century. 

The  Druidical  religion,  which  on  no  unequi- 
vocal evidence  can  be  shewn  to  have  been  Irish, 
has  the  same  prominence  during  the  same  time. 

The  Fir-Bolg  and  Attecheith  are  also  prominent 
at  this  time,  but  not  later.  Now  the  Belgce  and 
Attacotti  might  easily  be  got  from  British  or 
Roman  writers.  The  soil  of  Ireland,  as  soon  as 
its  records  improve,  ceases  to  supply  them. 


This  is  as  far  as  it  is  necessary  to  proceed  in 
the  criticism  of  our  early  authorities  of  British, 
Irish,  and  Saxon  origin,  since  it  is  not  the  object 
of  the  present  writer  to  throw  any  unnecessary 
discredit  over  them,  but  only  to  inquire  how  far 
they  are  entitled  to  the  claim  of  deciding  certain 
questions  finally,  and  of  precluding  criticism.  It 
is  clear  that  they  are  only  to  be  admitted  when 
opposed  by  a  very  slight  amount  of  conflicting 
improbabilities,  when  speaking  to  points  capable 
of  being  known,  and  when  freed  from  several 
elements  of  error  and  confusion.  The  practical 
application  of  this  inference  will  find  place  in  the 
eleventh  chapter. 




There  are  several  populations  of  whom,  like 
quiet  and  retiring  individuals,  we  know  nothing 
until  they  move;  for,  in  their  original  countries, 
they  lead  a  kind  of  still  life  which  escapes  notice 
and  description,  and  which,  if  it  were  not  for  a 
change  of  habits  with  a  change  of  area,  would 
place  them  in  the  position  of  the  great  men  who 
lived  before  Agamemnon.  They  would  pass  from 
the  development  to  the  death  of  their  separate 
existence  unobserved,  and  no  one  know  who  they 
were,  where  they  lived,  and  what  were  their  rela- 
tions. But  they  move  to  some  new  locality,  and 
then,  like  those  fruit-trees  which,  in  order  to  be 
prolific,  must  be  transplanted,  the  noiseless  and 
unnoticed  tenor  of  their  original  way  is  ex- 
changed for  an  influential  and  prominent  posi- 
tion. They  take  up  a  large  place  in  the  world's 
history.  Sometimes  this  arises  from  an  absolute 
change  of  character  with  the  change  of  circum- 
stances; but  oftener  it  is  due  to  a  more  intel- 


ligible  cause.  They  move  from  a  country  beyond 
the  reach  of  historical  and  geographical  know- 
ledge to  one  within  it ;  and  having  done  this 
they  find  writers  who  observe  and  describe  them, 
simply  because  they  have  come  within  the  field 
of  observation  and  description. 

It  is  no  great  stretch  of  imagination  to  picture 
some  of  the  stronger  tribes  of  the  now  unknown 
parts  of  Central  Africa  finding  their  way  as  far 
southward  as  the  Cape,  when  they  would  come 
within  the  sphere  of  European  observation.  On 
such  a  ground,  they  may  play  a  conspicuous  part 
in  history;  conspicuous  enough  to  be  noticed  by 
historians,  missionaries,  and  journalists.  They 
may  even  form  the  matter  of  a  blue  book.  For 
all  this,  however,  they  shall  only  be  known  in  the 
latter-days  of  their  history.  What  they  were  in 
their  original  domain  may  remain  a  mystery ; 
and  that,  even  when  the  parts  wherein  it  lay 
shall  have  become  explored.  For  it  is  just  pos- 
sible that  between  the  appearance  of  such  a  popu- 
lation in  a  locality  beyond  the  pale  of  then  own 
unexplored  home,  and  the  subsequent  discovery 
of  that  previously  obscure  area,  the  part  which 
was  left  behind — the  parent  portion — may  have 
lost  its  nationality,  its  language,  its  locality,  its 
independence,  its  name — any  one  or  any  number 
of  its  characteristics.  Perhaps,  the  name  alone, 
with  a  vague  notice  of  its  locality,  may  remain; 


a  name  famous  from  the  glory  of  its  new  coun- 
try, but  obscure,  and  even  equivocal  in  its  father- 

How  truly  are  the  Majiars  of  Hungary  known 
only  from  what  they  have  been  in  Hungary. 
Yet  they  are  no  natives  of  that  country.  It  was 
from  the  parts  beyond  the  Uralian  mountains 
that  they  came,  and  when  we  visit  those  parts 
and  ask  for  their  original  home,  we  find  no  such 
name,  no  such  language,  no  such  nationality  as 
that  of  the  Majiars.  We  find  Bashkirs,  or  some- 
thing equally  different  instead.  But  north  of  the 
old  country  of  the  Majiars — now  no  longer  Ma- 
jiar — we  find  Majiar  characteristics;  in  other 
words,  we  are  amongst  the  first  cousins  of  the 
Hungarians,  the  descendants  not  of  the  exact 
ancestors  of  the  conquerors  of  Hungary,  but  of 
the  populations  most  nearly  allied  to  such  ances- 
tors. And  it  is  in  these  that  we  must  study  the 
Majiar  before  he  became  European.  The  direct  de- 
scendants of  the  same  parents  have  disappeared, 
but  collateral  branches  of  the  family  survive;  and 
these  we  study,  assuming  that  there  is  a  family 

All  this  has  been  written  in  illustration  of  a 
case  near  home.  The  Majiar  of  the  Uralian  wilds, 
the  Majiar  of  the  Yaik  and  Oby,  the  Majiar,  in 
short,  of  Asia,  is  not  more  obscure,  unknown,  and 
unimportant  when  compared  with  the  country- 


men  of  Hunyades,  Zapolya,  and  Kossuth,  than  is 
the  Angle  of  Germany  when  contrasted  with  the 
Angle  of  England,  the  Angle  of  the  great  conti- 
nent with  the  Angle  of  the  small  island.  When 
we  say  that  the  former  is  named  by  Tacitus, 
Ptolemy,  and  a  few  other  less  important  writers, 
we  have  said  all.  There  is  the  name,  and  little 
enough  besides.  What  does  the  most  learned 
ethnologist  know  of  a  people  called  the  Encloses  ? 
Nothing.  He  speculates,  perhaps,  on  a  letter- 
change,  and  fancies  that  by  prefixing  a  Ph,  and 
inserting  an  n  he  can  convert  the  name  into 
Phundusii.  But  what  does  he  know  of  the 
Phundusii.  Nothing;  except  that  by  ejecting 
the  ph  and  omitting  the  n  he  can  reduce  them 
to  Encloses.  Then  come  the  Aviones,  whom,  by 
omission  and  rejection,  we  can  identify  with  the 
Obii,  of  whom  we  know  little,  and  also  convert 
into  the  Cobandi,  of  whom  we  know  less.  The 
Reudigni — what  light  comes  from  these  ?  The 
Nuitlwnes — what  from  these  ?  The  Suardones 
— what  from  these  ?  Now,  it  is  not  going  too  far 
if  we  say  that,  were  it  not  for  the  conquest  of 
England,  the  Angles  of  Germany  would  have 
been  known  to  the  ethnologist  just  as  the  Avi- 
ones are,  i.  e.,  very  little  ;  that,  like  the  Eudoses, 
they  might  have  had  their  very  name  tampered 
with  ;  and  that,  like  the  Suardones  and  Reu- 
digni  and  Nuitlwnes,  they  might  have  been  any- 


thing  or  nothing  in  the  way  of  ethnological 
affinit}^  historical  development,  and  geographical 

This  is  the  true  case.  Nine-tenths  of  what  is 
known  of  the  Angli  of  Germany  is  known  froni 
a  single  passage,  and  every  word  in  that  single 
passage  which  applies  to  Angli  applies  to  the 
Encloses,  Aviones,  Reudigni,  Suardones,  and 
Nuithones  as  well. 

The  passage  in  question  is  the  40th  section  of 
the  Germania  of  Tacitus,  and  is  as  follows  : — 

"  Contra  Langobardos  paucitas  nobilitat :  plu- 
rimis  ac  valentissimis  nationibus  cincti  non  per 
obsequium  sed  prseliis  et  periclitando  tuti  sunt. 
Reudigni,  deinde,  et  Aviones,  et  Angli,  et  Varini, 
et  Suardones,  et  Nuithones  fluminibus  aut  sylvis 
muniuntur ;  neque  quidquam  notabile  in  singulis 
nisi  quod  in  commune  Hertham,  id  est,  Terrain 
Matrem  colunt,  eamque  intervenire  rebus  homi- 
num,  invehi  populis  arbitrantur.  Est  in  insula 
Oceani  castum  nemus,  dicatum  in  eo  vehiculum, 
veste  contectum,  attingere  uni  sacerdoti  conces- 
sum.  Is  adesse  penetrali  deam  intelligit,  vec- 
tamque  bobus  feminis  multa  cum  veneratiom 
prosequitur.  Lseti  tunc  dies,  festa  loca,  qusecun- 
que  adventu  hospitioque  dignatur.  Non  belh 
ineunt,  non  arma  summit,  clausum  omne  fer- 
ritin ;  pax  et  quies  tunc  tantum  nota,  tunc  tan- 
tum  amata,  donee  idem  sacerdos  satiatam  con- 


versatione  mortalium  deam  templo  reddat :  mox 
vehiculum  et  vestes,  et  si  credere  velis,  numen 
ipsum  secreto  lacu  abluitur.  Servi  ministrant, 
quos  statim  idem  lacus  haurit.  Arcanus  hinc 
terror,  sanctaque  ignorantia,  quid  sit  id,  quod 
perituri  tantum  vident." 

Let  us  ask  what  we  get  from  this  passage  when 
taken  by  itself,  i.  e.,  without  the  light  thrown 
upon  it  by  the  present  existence  of  the  descend- 
ants of  the  Angli  as  the  English  of  England. 

We  get  the  evidence  of  a  good  writer,  that  six 
nations  considered  by  him  as  sufficiently  Ger- 
manic to  be  included  in  his  Germania,  were  far 
enough  north  of  the  Germans  who  came  in  im- 
mediate contact  with  Rome  to  be  briefly  and  im- 
perfectly described  and  near  enough  the  sea  to 
frequent  an  Island  worshipping  a  goddess  with 
a  German  name  and  certain  remarkable  attri- 
butes. This  is  the  most  we  get ;  and  to  get  this 
we  must  shut  our  eyes  to  more  than  one  compli- 

a.  Thus  the  country  that  can  most  reasonably 
be  assigned  to  the  Varini,  is  in  the  tenth  cen- 
tury the  country  of  the  Varnavi,  who  are  no 
Germans,  but  Slavonians. 

b.  Another  reading,  instead  of  Hertham,  is 
Nerthum,  a  name  less  decidedly  Germanic. 

All  we  get  beyond  this  is  from  their  subse- 
quent histories ;   and  of    these  subsequent  his- 


tories  there  is  only  one — the  Angle  or  English. 
Truly,  then,  may  we  say  that  the  Angles  of  Ger- 
many are  only  known  from  their  relations  to  the 
Angles  of  England. 

Let  us  inquire  into  the  geographical  and  eth- 
nological conditions  of  the  Angli  of  Tacitus  ;  and 
first  in  respect  to  their  geography. 

1.  They  must  be  placed  as  far  north  as  the 
Weser;  because  the  area  required  for  the  Cherusci, 
Fosi,  Chasuarii,  Dulgubini,  Chamavi,  and  Angri- 
varii  must  be  carried  to  a  certain  extent  north- 
wards ;  and  the  populations  in  question  lay  beyond 

2.  They  must  not  be  carried  very  far  north  of 
the  Elbe.  The  reasons  for  this  are  less  conclu- 
sive. They  lie,  however,  in  the  circumstance  of 
Ptolemy  s  notices  placing  them  in  a  decidedly 
southern  direction  ;  and,  as  Tacitus  has  left  their 
locality  an  open  question,  the  evidence  of  even  a 
worse  authority  than  Ptolemy  ought  to  be  deci- 
sive,— "  of  the  nations  of  the  interior  the  greatest 
is  that  of  Suevi  Angili,  who  are  the  most  eastern 
of  the  Longobardi,  stretching  as  far  northwards 
as  the  middle  Elbe/'  The  same  writer  precludes 
us  from  placing  them  in  Holstein  and  Sleswick 
by  filling  up  the  Peninsula  by  populations  other 
than  Ancde,  one  of  which  is  the  Saxon.  But  these 
Saxons  we  are  not  at  liberty  to  identify  with  the 
Angli  of  Tacitus,  because,  by  so  doing,  we  separate 


them  from  the  more  evidently  related  Angili  of 
Ptolemy.  Ptolemy  draws  a  distinction  between 
the  two,  and  writes  that  "  after  the  Chauci  on  the 
neck  of  the  Cimbric  Chersonese,  came  the  Saxons, 
after  the  Saxons,  as  far  as  the  river  Chalusus,  the 
Pharodini.  In  the  Chersonese  itself  there  extend, 
beyond  the  Saxons,  the  Sigulones  on  the  west, 
then  the  Sabalingii,  then  the  Cobandi,  above  them 
the  Chali,  then  above  these,  but  more  to  the  west, 
the  Phundusii ;  more  to  the  east  the  Charades, 
and  most  of  all  to  the  north,  the  Cimbri." 

S.  They  must  not  come  quite  up  to  the  sea, 
since  we  have  seen  from  Ptolemy  that  the  Chauci 
and  Saxones  joined,  and  as  the  Saxons  were  on 
the  neck  of  the  Peninsula,  or  the  south-eastern 
parts  of  Holstein,  the  Chauci  must  have  lain 
between  the  Angli  and  the  sea,  probably,  how- 
ever, on  a  very  narrow  strip  of  coast. 

4.  They  must  not  have  reached  eastwards  much 
farther  than  the  frontiers  of  Lauenburg  and  Lunen- 
burg, since,  as  soon  as  we  get  definite  historical 
notices  of  these  countries,  they  are  Slavonic — 
and,  whatever  may  be  said  to  the  contrary,  there 
is  no  evidence  of  this  Slavonic  occupancy  being 

These  conditions  give  us  the  northern  part  of 
the  kingdom  of  Hanover  as  the  original  Angle 

Their  ethnological  affinities  are  simpler.     They 


spoke  the  language  which  afterwards  became 
the  Anglo-Saxon  of  Alfred,  and  the  English  of 
Milton.  In  this  we  have  the  first  and  most 
definite  of  their  differential  characteristics — the 
characteristics  which  distinguished  them  from 
the  closely  allied  Cheruscans,  Chamavi,  Angri- 
varii  and  other  less  important  nations. 

Their  religious  cultus,  as  far  at  least  as  the 
worship  of  Mother  Earth  in  a  Holy  Island,  was 
a  link  which  connected  the  Angli  with  the  po- 
pulations to  the  north  rather  than  to  the  south 
of  them ;  and — as  far  as  we  may  judge  from  the 
negative  fact  of  finding  no  Angles  in  the  great 
confederacy  that  the  energy  of  Arminius  formed 
against  the  aggression  of  Rome — their  political 
relations  did  the  same.     But  this  is  uncertain. 

Such  was  the  supposed  area  of  the  ancient 
Angles  of  Germany,  and  it  agrees  so  well  with 
all  the  ethnological  conditions  of  the  populations 
around,  that  it  should  not  be  objected  to,  or  re- 
fined upon,  on  light  grounds.  The  two  varieties 
of  the  German  languages  to  which  the  Anglo- 
Saxon  bore  the  closest  relationship,  were  the 
Old  Saxon  and  the  Frisian,  and  each  of  these 
are  made  conterminous  with  it  by  the  recogni- 
tion of  the  area  in  question — the  Old  Saxon  to 
the  south,  the  Frisian  to  the  west,  and,  probably, 
to  the  north  as  well.  It  is  an  area,  too,  which  is 
neither  unnecessarily  large,   nor   preposterously 


small ;  an  area  which  gives  its  occupants  the 
navigable  portions  of  two  such  rivers  as  the  Elbe 
and  Weser ;  one  which  places  them  in  the  neces- 
sary relations  to  their  Holy  Island  (an  island 
which,  for  the  present  we  assume  to  be  Heligo- 
land); and,  lastly,  one  which  without  being  ex- 
actly the  nearest  part  of  the  continent,  fronts 
Britain,  and  is  well  situated  for  descents  upon 
the  British  coast. 

During  the  third,  fourth,  and  fifth  centuries  we 
hear  nothing  of  the  Angli.  They  re-appear  in  the 
eighth.  But  then  they  are  the  Angles  of  Beda, 
the  Angles  of  Britain — not  those  of  Germany — 
the  Angles  of  a  new  locality,  and  of  a  conquered 
country — not  the  parent  stock  on  its  original  con- 
tinental home.  Of  these  latter  the  history  of  Beda 
says  but  little.  Neither  does  the  history  of  any 
other  writer ;  indeed  it  is  not  too  much  to  say  that 
they  have  no  authentic,  detailed,  and  consecutive 
history  at  all,  either  early  or  late,  either  in  the  time 
of  Beda  when  the  Angles  of  England  are  first  de- 
scribed, or  in  the  time  of  any  subsequent  writer. 
There  are  reasons  for  this ;  as  will  be  seen  if  we 
look  to  their  geographical  position,  and  the  rela- 
tions between  them  and  the  neighbouring  popula- 
tions. The  Angles  of  Germany  were  too  far  north 
to  come  in  contact  with  the  Romans.  That  we  met 
with  no  Angli  in  the  great  Arminian  Confederacy 
has  already  been  stated.    When  the  Romans  "were 

152  THE  VAKINI. 


the  aggressors,  the  Angli  lay  beyond  the  pale  of 
their  ambition.  When  the  Romans  were  on  the 
defensive  the  Angli  were  beyond  the  opportuni- 
ties of  attack. 

All  attempts  to  illustrate  the  history  of  the 
Angles  of  Germany  by  means  of  that  of  the 
nations  mentioned  in  conjunction  with  them  by 
Tacitus,  is  obscurum  per  obscurius.  It  is  more 
than  this.  The  connexion  creates  difficulties.  The 
Langobardi,  who  gave  their  name  to  Lombardy, 
were  anything  but  Angle  ;  inasmuch  as  their  lan- 
guage was  a  dialect  of  the  High  German  division. 
Hence,  if  we  connect  them  with  our  own  ances- 
tors we  must  suppose  that  when  they  changed 
their  locality  they  changed  their  speech  also. 
But  no  such  assumption  is  necessary.  All  that 
we  get  from  the  text  of  Tacitus  is,  that  they 
were  in  geographical  contiguity  with  the  Reu- 
digni,  &c. 

The  Yarini  are  in  a  different  predicament. 
They  are  mentioned  in  the  present  text  along 
with  the  Angli,  and  they  are  similarly  men- 
tioned in  the  heading  of  a  code  of  laws  referred 
to  the  tenth  century.  Every  name  in  this  latter 
document  is  attended  with  difficulties. 

Incipit  Lex  Anglorum  et  Werinorum,  hoc  est 
Thuringorum. — To  find  Angli  in  Thuringia  by 
themselves  would  be  strange.  So  it  would  be 
to  find  Werini.     But  to  find  the  two  combined 

THE  VAEINI.  153 

is  exceedingly  puzzling.  I  suggest  the  likeli- 
hood of  there  having  been  military  colonies, 
settled  by  some  of  the  earlier  successors  of  Char- 
lemagne, if  not  by  Charlemagne  himself.  There 
are  other  interpretations ;  but  this  seems  the 
likeliest.  That  the  Varini  and  Angli  were  con- 
tiguous populations  in  the  time  of  Tacitus,  join- 
ing each  other  on  the  Lower  Elbe,  even  as  they 
join  each  other  in  his  text,  is  likely.  It  is  also 
likely  that  when  their  respective  areas  were  con- 
quered, each  should  have  supplied  the  elements 
of  a  colony  to  the  conqueror. 

At  the  same  time,  I  do  not  think  that  their 
ethnological  relations  were  equally  close.  The 
Varini  I  believe  to  have  been  Slavonians.  There 
is  no  difficulty  in  doing  this.  The  only  difficulty 
lies  in  the  choice  between  two  Slavonic  popula- 
tions. Adam  of  Bremen  places  a  tribe,  which  he 
sometimes  calls  Warnabi,  and  sometimes  War- 
nahi  (Helmoldus  calling  it  Warnavi),  between 
the  river  Hevel  in  Brandenburg  and  the  Obo- 
trites  of  Mecklenburg -Schwerin.  He  mentions 
them,  too,  in  conjunction  with  the  Linones  of 
Lun-ehiiYg.  Now  this  evidence  fixes  them  in  the 
parts  about  the  present  district  of  Warnow,  on 
the  Elde,  a  locality  which  is  further  confirmed  by 
two  chartas  of  the  latter  part  of  the  twelfth  cen- 
tury— "silva  quse  destinguit  terras  Havelliere 
scilicet  et  Muritz,  eandem  terrain  quoque  Muritz 

154  THE   VARIXI. 

et  Vepero  cum  terminis  suis  ad  terrain  Warnowe 
ex  utraque  parte  fluminis  quod  Eldene  dicitur 
usque  ad  castrum  Grabow."  Also — "  distinguit 
tandem  terram  Moritz  et  Veprouwe  cum  omnibus 
terminis  suis  ad  terram  quae  Warnowe  vocatur, 
includens  et  terram  Warnowe  cum  terminis  suis 
ex  utraque  parte  fluminis  quod  Eldena  dicitur 
usque  ad  castrum  quod  Grabou  vocatur."  Such 
is  one  of  the  later  populations  of  the  parts  on  the 
Lower  Elbe,  which  may  claim  to  represent  the 
Verini  of  Tacitus. 

But  the  name  re-appears.  In  the  Life  of  Bishop 
Otto,  the  Isle  of  Rugen  is  called  Verania*  and 
the  population  Verani — eminent  for  their  pa- 
ganism. To  reconcile  these  two  divisions  of  the 
Mecklenburg  populations  is  a  question  for  the 
Slavonic  archaeologist.  Between  the  two  we  get 
some  light  for  the  ethnology  of  the  VarinL  Their 
island  is  Rugen  rather  than  Heligoland.  The 
island,  however,  that  best  suits  the  Angli  is  Heli- 
goland rather  than  Rugen.  Which  is  which? 
The  following  hypothesis  has  already  been  sug- 
gested. "  What  if  the  Yarini  had  one  holy  island, 
and  the  Angli  another — so  that  the  insula?  sacra?, 
with  their  corresponding  casta  nemora,  were  two 
in  number?  I  submit  that  a  writer  with  no  bet- 
ter means  of  knowing  the  exact  truth  than  Ta- 
citus, might,  in  such  a  case,  when  he  recognized 

*  Zeuss  ad  vv.  Rugiani,  Warnahi. 


the  insular  character  common  to  the  two  forms 
of  cidtus,  easily  and  pardonably,  refer  them  to  one 
and  the  same  island;  in  other  words,  he  might 
know  the  general  fact  that  the  Angli  and  Varini 
worshipped  in  an  island,  without  knowing  the 
particular  fact  of  their  each  having  a  separate 

This  is  what  really  happened ;  so  that  the  hy- 
pothesis is  as  follows: — 

a.  The  truly  and  undoubtedly  Germanic  Angli 
worshipped  in  Heligoland. 

b.  The  probably  Slavonic  Varini  worshipped  in 
the  Isle  of  Eugen. 

c.  The  holy  island  of  Tacitus  is  that  of  the 
Angli — 

d.  With  whom  the  Varini  are  inaccurately 
associated — 

e.  The  source  of  the  inaccuracy  lying  in  the 
fact  of  that  nation  having  a  holy  island,  different 
from  that  of  the  Angles,  but  not  known  to  be  so.* 

We  have  got  now,  in  the  text  of  Tacitus,  the 
Angli  as  a  Germanic  and  the  Varini  as  a  Slavonic, 
population.  The  Langobardi  may  be  left  unno- 
ticed for  the  present.  But  round  which  of  the 
two  are  the  remaining  tribes  to  be  grouped,  the 
Reudigni,  the  Aviones,  Eudoses,  the  Suardones, 
and  Nuithones. 

The  Reudigni. — Whether  we  imagine  the  Latin 

*  From  the  "  Germania  of  Tacitus  with  Ethnological  Notes." 


form  before  us  to  represent  such  a  word  as  the 
German  ~Reud-ing-as,  or  the  Slavonic  Beud-mie* 
(of  either  of  which  it  may  be  the  equivalent),  the 
two  last  syllables  are  inflexional;  the  first  only 
belonging  to  the  root.  Now,  although  unknown 
to  any  Latin  writer  but  Tacitus,  the  syllable  Reud 
as  the  element  of  a  compound,  occurs  in  the  Ice- 
landic Sagas.  Whoever  the  Goths  of  Scandinavia 
may  have  been,  they  fell  into  more  than  one  class. 
There  were,  for  instance,  the  simple  Goths  of  Got- 
land, the  island  Goths  of  Ey-gotoAsmd,  and, 
thirdly,  the  Goths  of  Reidh-gota-land.  Where 
was  this?  Reidhgotaland  was  an  old  name  of 
Jutland.  Reidhgotaland  was  also  the  name  of 
a  country  east  of  Poland.  Zeuss-f  well  suggests 
that  these  conflicting  facts  may  be  reconciled  by 
considering  the  prefix  Reidh,  to  denote  the  Goths 
of  the  Continent  in  opposition  to  the  word  Ey, 
denoting  the  Goths  of  the  Islands  ;  both  being 
formidable  and  important  nations,  both  being  in 
political  and  military  relations  to  the  Danes, 
Swedes,  and  Norwegians,  and  both  being  other 
than  Germanic. 

In  the  Traveller's  Song  a  more  remarkable  com- 
pound is  found;  Hreth-king — 

He  with  Ealhild, 
Faithful  peace-weaver, 

*  As  a  general  rule,  I  believe  that  the  combination  -ing,  repre- 
sents a  German,  the  combination  -ign  a  Slavonic,  word, 
t  In  v.  Jutce. 


For  the  first  time, 

Of  the  Hreth-ldng 

Sought  the  home, 

East  of  Ongle, 

Of  Eormenric, 

The  fierce  faith-breaker. 

Now,  although  the  usual  notions  respecting  the 
locality  of  the  great  Gothic  empire  of  Hermanric 
are  rather  invalidated  than  confirmed  by  this  ex- 
tract, the  relation  between  the  Hreths  and  Ongle 
is  exactly  that  between  the  Reudigni  and  Angli, 
Neither  are  there  other  facts  wanting  which 
would  bring  the  rule  of  Hermanric  as  far  north 
as  the  latitude  of  the  Angli,  though  not,  perhaps, 
so  far  east.  His  death  is  said  to  have  been  occa- 
sioned by  the  revolt  of  two  Rlwxalanian  princes. 
Now  the  Rhoxalani  were,  at  least,  as  far  north 
as  the  Angli,  however  much  farther  they  may 
have  lain  eastwards. 

But  in  the  same  poem  we  meet  with  the  name 
in  the  simple  form  Hrced;  for,  when  we  remem- 
ber that  one  of  the  Icelandic  notices  of  Reidhgota- 
land  is  that  it  lay  to  the  east  of  Poland,  we 
may  fairly  infer  that  Keidhgotaland  was  the 
country  of  the  nation  mentioned  in  the  following 
passage: — 

Eadwine  I  sought  aud  Elsa, 

iEgelmund  and  Huugar, 

And  the  proud  host 

Of  the  With-Myrginga ; 

Wuifhere  I  sought  and  Wyrnhere  ; 


Full  oft  war  ceas'd  not  there, 
When  the  II reeds'  army, 
With  hard  swords, 
About  Vistula's  wood 
Had  to  defend 
Their  ancient  native  seat 
Against  the  folk  of  ^tla. 

Such  faint  light  then  as  can  be  thrown  upon 
the  Reudigni  of  Tacitus  disconnects  them  with 
the  Angli  both  geographically  and  ethnologically, 
connecting  them  with  the  Prussians,  and  placing 
them  on  the  Lower  Vistula 

The  Aviones.  —  The  Aviones  are  either  un- 
known to  history,  or  known  under  the  slightly 
modified  form  of  Chaviones.  Maximian  conquers 
them  about  A.D.  289.  His  Panegyrist  Mamerti- 
nus  associates  them  with  the  Heruli.  Perhaps, 
the  Obii  are  the  same  people.  If  so,  they  cross 
the  Danube  in  conjunction  with  the  Langobardi, 
and  are  mentioned,  as  having  done  so,  by  Petrus 

The  Eudoses  will  be  noticed  when  Ptolemy's 
list  comes  under  consideration. 

So  will  the  Suardones. 

No  light  has  ever  been  thrown  on  the  Nui- 

Over  and  above  the  Saxons,  to  whom  a  special 
chapter  will  be  devoted,  Ptolemy's  list  contains: — 

].  The  Sigulones. — The  Saxons  lay  to  the 
north  of  Elbe,  on  the  neck  of  the  Chersonese,  and 


the  Sigulones  occupied  the  Chersonese  itself,  west- 
wards.   Two  populations  thus  placed  between  the 
Atlantic  and  the  Baltic,  immediately  north  of  the 
Elbe,  leave  but  little  room  for  each  other. 
"  Then/'  writes  Ptolemy,  "  come — 

2.  The  Sabalingii. — then — 

3.  The  Kobandi. — above  these — 

4.  The  Ghali — and  above  them,  but  more  to  the 
west — 

5.  The  Phundusii. — more  to  the  east — 

6.  The  Charwdes — and  most  to  the  north  of 

7.  The  Cimbri." 

8.  The  Pharodini  lay  next  to  the  Saxons,  be- 
tween the  Elvers  Chalusus  and  Suebus. 

Tacitus'  geography  is  obscure ;  Ptolemy's  is  dif- 
ficult. One  wants  light.  The  other  gives  us 
conflicting  facts.  Neither  have  the  attempts  to 
reconcile  them  been  successful.  The  first  point 
that  strikes  us  is  the  difference  of  the  names  in 
the  two  authors.  No  Sigulones  and  Sabalingii  in 
Tacitus.  No  Nuithones  and  Reudigni  in  Ptolemy. 
Then  there  is  the  extremely  northern  position 
which  the  latter  gives  the  Cimbri.  His  Charudes, 
too,  cannot  well  be  separated  from  Caesar's  Ha- 
rudes.  Nevertheless,  their  area  is  inconveniently 
distant  from  the  seat  of  war  in  the  invasion  of 
Gaul  under  Ariovistus,  of  whose  armies  the  Ha- 
rudes  form  a  part.     The  River  Chalusus  is  rea- 


sonably  considered  to  be  the  Trave.  But  the 
Suebus  is  not  the  Oder;  though  the  two  are  often 
identified:  inasmuch  as  the  geographer  continues 
to  state  that  after  the  Pharodini  come  "the  Si- 
dini  to  the  river  Iadua"  (the  Oder?),  "  and,  after 
them,  the  Rutikleii  as  far  as  the  Vistula/' 

Zeuss  has  allowed  himself  to  simplify  some  of 
the  details  by  identifying  certain  of  the  Ptole- 
msean  names  with  those  of  Tacitus.  Thus  he 
thinks  that,  by  supposing  the  original  word  to 
have  been  ^apoS-ivoi,  the  <Papo$iv-oi  and  Suar- 
don-es  may  be  made  the  same.  Kobandi,  too,  he 
thinks  may  be  reduced  to  Ghaviones,  or  Aviones. 
Thirdly,  by  the  prefix  <P,  and  the  insertion  of  N, 
Eudos-es  may  be  converted  into  (PhvShv-iol 

Those  who  know  the  degree  to  which  the  mo- 
dern German  philologists  act  upon  the  doctrine 
that  Truth  is  stranger  than  Fiction,  and,  by 
unparalleled  manipulations  reconcile  a  so-called 
iron-bound  system  of  scientific  letter -changes 
with  results  as  extraordinary  as  those  of  the  Kel- 
tic and  Hebraic  dreamers  of  the  last  century,  will 
see  in  such  comparisons  as  these  nothing  extra- 
ordinary. On  the  contrary,  they  will  give  them 
credit  for  being  moderate.  And  so  they  are :  for 
it  is  extremely  likely  that  whilst  Tacitus  got  his 
names  from  German,  Ptolemy  got  his  from  Kel- 
tic, or  Slavonic,  sources  ;  and  if  such  be  the  case, 
a  very  considerable  latitude  is  allowable. 


Yet,  even  if  we  make  the  Cobandi,  Aviones ; 
the  Phundusii,  Eudoses ;  and  the  Pharodini,  Suar- 
dones  (probably,  also,  the  Siveordwere,  of  the 
Traveller  s  Song),  the  geographical  difficulties  are 
still  considerable.  Saxons  on  the  neck  of  the 
Chersonese  (say  in  Stormar)  with  Sigulones  (say 
in  Holstein)  to  the  west  of  them  are  fully  suffi- 
cient to  stretch  from  sea  to  sea  ;  but  beyond  (and 
this  we  must  suppose  to  be  in  a  westerly  direc- 
tion) are  the  Sabalingii,  and  then  the  Kobandi ; 
above  (north  of)  these  the  Chali  (whom  we  should 
expect  to  be  connected  with  the  river  Chalusus), 
and  west  of  these  the  Phundusii.  Similar  com- 
plications can  easily  be  added. 

The  meaning  of  the  word  Sabalingii  is  ex- 
plained, if  we  may  assume  a  slight  change  in  the 
reading.  How  far  it  is  legitimate,  emendatory 
critics  may  determine  ;  but  by  transposing  the 
B  and  L,  the  word  becomes  Sa-lab-mgii.  The 
Slavonic  is  the  tongue  that  explains  this. 

1.  The  Slavonic  name  of  the  Elbe  is  Laba ; 
and — 

2.  The  Slavonic  for  Transalbian,  as  a  term  for 
the  population  beyond  the  Elbe,  would  be  Sa- 
lab-ingii.  This  compound  is  common.  The  Finns 
of  Karelia  are  called  Za-volok-ian,  because  they 
live  beyond  the  voloh  or  watershed.  The  Kos- 
sacks  of  the  Dnieper  are  called  Za-porog-ian, 
because  they  live  beyond  the  porog  or  waterfall. 


The  population  in  question  I  imagine  to  have 
been  called  Sa-lab-ingian,  because  they  lived 
beyond  the  Laba,  or  Elbe. 

Now  a  name  closely  akin  to  Salabingian  actu- 
ally occurs  at  the  beginning  of  the  Historical 
period.  The  population  of  the  Duchy  of  Lauen- 
burg  is  (then)  Slavonic.  So  is  that  of  south-east- 
ern Holstein ;  since  the  Saxon  area  begins  with 
the  district  of  Stormar.  So  is  that  of  Luneburg. 
And  the  name  of  these  Slavonians  of  the  Elbe 
is  Po-lab-ingii  (on  the  Elbe),  just  as  Po-mora-nia 
is  the  country  on  the  sea.  Of  the  Po-labingians, 
then,  the  #a-labingii  were  the  section  belonging 
to  that  side  of  the  Elbe  to  which  the  tribe  that 
used  the  term  did  not  belong.  Such  are  the 
reasons  for  believing  the  name  to  be  Slavonic. 

There  are  specific  grounds,  of  more  or  less  value, 
then,  for  separating  the  Angli  from,  at  least,  the 
following  populations — the  Varini,  the  Reudigni, 
the  Eudoses,  the  Phundusii,  the  Suardones,  tin 
Pharodini,  and  the  Sabalingii  (Salabingii  ?)  ;  in- 
deed, the  Sigulones  and  Harudes  seem  to  be  th< 
only  Germans  of  two  lists.  The  former,  I  think, 
was  Frisian  rather  than  Angle,  the  latter  Olc 
Saxon  rather  than  Anglo-Saxon  ;  for,  notwith- 
standing some  difficulties  of  detail  which  will  b* 
noticed  in  another  chapter,  the  Charudes  must 
be  considered  the  Germans  of  the  Hartz.  Tin 
Sigulones,  being  placed  so  definitely  to  the  west 


of  the  Saxons,  were  probably  the  Nordalbingians 
of  Holsatia.* 

The  last  complication  which  will  be  noticed  is 
in  the  following  extract  from  Ptolemy. — "  But  of 
the  inland  nations  far  in  the  interior  the  greatest 
are  that  of  the  Suevi  Angeili,  who  are  east  of 
the  Longobardi,  stretching  to  the  north,  as  far  as 
the  middle  parts  of  the  river  Elbe,  that  of  the 
Suevi  Semnones,  who,  when  we  leave  the  Elbe, 
reach  from  the  aforesaid  (middle)  parts,  east- 
wards, as  far  as  the  River  Suebus,  and  that  of 
the  Buguntaa  next  in  succession,  extending  as  far 
as  the  Vistula/' — Lib.  ii.  c.  xi. 

This  connexion  of  the  Angles  with  the  Suevi 
requires  notice  ;  though  it  should  not  cause  any 
serious  difficulty.  The  term  Suevi,  or  Suevia, 
is  used  in  a  very  extensive  signification,  denoting 
the  vast  tracts  east  of  the  better  known  districts 
of  Germany  ;  and  in  a  similar  sense  it  is  used  by 
both  Tacitus  and  Caesar.  The  notion  of  any 
specific  connection  with  the  Suevi  of  Suabia  is 

It  has  already  been  stated  that  in  the  Travel- 
ler's Song  the  Kingdom  of  Hermanric  is  placed 
east  of  Ongle.  Either  this  means  that  the  one 
country  was  east  of  the  other,  in  the  way  that 
Hungary  is  east  of  the   Rhine,  or  else  an  unre- 

*  See  Chapter  ix. 

164  THE   ANGLES. 

cognized  extension  must  be  given  to  one  of  the 
two  areas. 

In  one  part  of  the  poem  in  question  the  form 
is  not  Ongle  but  Engle — 

"  'Mid  iihglum  ic  wees,  and  mid  Swsefum — 
With  Angles  I  was,  and  with  Sueves." — Line  121. 

The  result  of  the  previous  criticism  is — 

1.  That  the  Angli  of  Germany  distinguished, 
by  the  use  of  that  form  of  speech  which  after- 
wards became  Anglo-Saxon,  from  the  Slavonians 
of  south-eastern  Holstein,  Lauenburg,  Luneburg, 
and  Altmark,  from  the  Old  Saxons  of  Westpha- 
lia, and  from  the  Frisians  of  the  sea-coast  be- 
tween the  Ems  and  Elbe,  occupied,  with  the  ex- 
ceptions just  suggested,  the  northern  two-thirds 
of  the  present  Kingdom  of  Hanover. 

2.  That  they  were  the  only  members  of  the 
particular  section  of  the  German  population  t( 
which  they  belonged,  i.  e.,  the  section  using  th( 
Anglo-Saxon  rather  than  the  Old  Saxon  speech. 

Their  relations  to  the  population  of  the  Cim- 
bric  Chersonese  will  form  the  subject  of  the  nexl 

THE   SAXONS.  165 





The  ethnologist  of  England  has  to  deal  with 
a  specific  section  of  those  numerous  Germans, 
who,  in  different  degrees  of  relationship  to  each 
other,  have  been  known,  at  different  times,  under 
the  name  of  Saxon  ;  a  name  which  has  by  no 
means  a  uniform  signification,  a  name  which  has 
been  borne  by  every  single  division  and  sub- 
division of  the  Teutonic  family,  the  Proper 
Goths  alone  excepted.  At  present,  however,  he 
only  knows  that  the  counties  of  ~Es-sex,  Sussex, 
and  Middle-sea;  are  the  localities  of  the  East- 
Saxons,  the  South-Saxons,  and  the  Middle- 
Saxons,  respectively ;  that  in  the  sixth  and 
seventh  centuries  there  was  a  Kingdom  of  Wes- 
sex,  or  the  West-Saxons  ;  that  Angle  and  Saxon 
were  nearly  convertible  terms ;  and  that  Anglo- 
Saxon  is  the  name  of  the  English  Language  in 
its  oldest  known  stage.  How  these  names  came 
to  be  so  nearly  synonymous,  or  how  certain 
south-eastern  counties   of  England  and  a   Ger 


man  Kingdom  on  the  frontier  of  Bohemia,  bear 
names  so  much  alike  as  Sus-se#  and  Sax-<my, 
are  questions  which  he  has  yet  to  solve. 

The  German  Kingdom  of  Saxony  may  be  dis- 
posed of  first.  It  is  chiefly  in  name  that  it  has 
any  relation  to  the  Saxon  parts  of  England.  In 
language  and  blood  there  are  numerous  points  of 
difference.  The  original  population  was  Sla- 
vonic, which  began  to  be  displaced  by  Germans 
from  the  left  bank  of  the  Saale  as  early  as  the 
seventh  century  ;  possibly  earlier.  The  language 
of  these  Slavonians  was  spoken  in  the  neighbour- 
hood of  Leipsic  as  late  as  the  fourteenth  century, 
and  at  the  present  time  two  populations  in  Sile- 
sia and  Lusatia  still  retain  it — the  Srbie,  and 
Srskie.  Sorabi,  Milcieni,  Siusli,  and  Lusicii,  are 
the  designations  of  these  populations  in  the  time 
of  Charlemagne ;  and,  earlier  still,  they  were  in- 
cluded in  the  great  name  of  Semnones.  It  is  only 
because  they  were  conquered  from  that  part  of 
Germany  which  was  called  Saxonia  or  Saxen- 
lomd,  or  else  because  numerous  colonies  of  the 
previously  reduced  Saxons  of  the  Lower  Weser 
were  planted  on  their  territory,  that  their  pre- 
sent name  became  attached  to  them.  Slavonic 
in  blood,  and  High  German  in  language,  the 
Saxons  of  the  Upper  Elbe,  or  the  Saxons  of 
Upper  Saxony,  are  but  remotely  connected  with 
the  ancestors  of  the  Anglo-Saxons  of  Britain. 


In  Upper  Saxony,  at  least,  the  name  is  not 

Lower  Saxony  was  the  country  on  the  Lower 
Elbe,  and  also  of  the  Lower  Weser,  and  until 
the  extension  of  the  name  to  the  parts  about 
Leipsic  and  Dresden,  was  simply  known  as 
Saxonia,  or  the  Land  of  the  Saxones ;  at  least, 
the  qualifying  adjective  Lower  made  no  part 
of  the  designation.  Saxony  was  what  it  was 
called  by  the  Merovingian  Francs,  as  well  as  the 
Carlovingians  who  succeeded  them.  Whether, 
however,  any  portion  of  the  indigense  so  called 
itself  is  uncertain.  In  the  latter  half  of  the 
eighth  century  it  falls  into  three  divisions,  two 
of  which  are  denoted  by  geographical  or  political 
designations,  and  one  by  the  name  of  a  native 

The  present  district  of  TTes^-phalia  was  one 
of  them ;  its  occupants  being  called  TFesi-falahi, 
TFiestf-falai,  West-idXi.  These  were  the  Saxons  of 
the  Rhine.  Contrasted  with  these,  the  East-\Avd- 
lians  (Ost-fal&i,  Os£-falahi,  Ost-fali,  Oster-leudi, 
Austre-leudi,  Aust-r&sn),  stretched  towards  the 

Between  the  two,  descendants  of  the  Angri- 
varii  of  Tacitus,  and  ancestors  of  the  present 
Germans  of  the  parts  about  Engem,  lay  the 
Angr-arii,  or  Ang-SLvii. 

An  unknown  poet  of  the  eighth  century,  but 


one  whose  sentiments  indicate  a  Saxon  origin, 
thus  laments  the  degenerate  state  of  his  coun- 
try : 

"  Generalis  habet  populos  divisio  ternos, 
Insignita  quibus  Saxonia  floruit  olim ; 
Nomina  nunc  remanent  virtus  antiqua  recessit. 
Denique  Westfalos  vocitant  in  parte  manentes 
Occidua ;  quorum  non  longe  terminus  amne 
A  Rheno  distat  1  regionem  solis  ad  ortum 
Inhabitant  Osterleudi,  quos  nomine  quidam 
Ostvalos  alii  vocitant,  confinia  quorum 
Infestant  conjuncta  suis  gens  perfida  Sclavi. 
Inter  predictos  media  regione  morantur 
Angarii,  populus  Saxonum  tertius ;  horum 
Patria  Francorum  terris  sociatur  ab  Austro, 
Oceanoque  eadem  conjungitur  ex  Aquilone." 

The  conquest  of  Charlemagne  is  the  reason 
for  the  language  being  thus  querulous;  for,  un- 
like Upper  Saxony,  the  Saxony  of  the  Lower 
Weser,  the  Saxony  of  the  Angrivarii,  Westfalii, 
and  Ostfalii,  was  truly  the  native  land  of  an  old 
and  heroic  German  population,  of  a  population 
which  under  Arminius  had  resisted  Home,  of  a 
population  descended  from  the  Chamavi,  the  Dul- 
gubini,  the  Fosi,  and  the  Cherusci  of  Tacitus,  and, 
finally,  the  land  of  a  population  whose  immedi- 
ate and  closest  affinities  were  with  the  Angles  of 
Hanover,  and  the  Frisians  of  Friesland,  rather 
than  with  the  Chatti  of  Hesse,  or  the  Franks  of 
the  Carlovingian  dynasty. 

How  far  are  these  the  Saxons  of  Sus-s&c,  Es- 

THE   OLD   SAXONS.  169 

sex,  and  Middle-se#  ?  Only  so  far  as  they  were 
Angles;  and,  except  in  the  parts  near  the  Elbe, 
they  were  other  than  Angle.  This  we  know  from 
their  language,  in  which  a  Gospel  Harmony,  in 
alliterative  metre,  a  fragmentary  translation  of 
the  Psalms,  and  a  heroic  rhapsody  called  Hildu- 
brant  and  Hathubrant  have  come  down  to  us. 

The  parts  where  the  dialects  of  these  particular 
specimens  were  spoken  are  generally  considered 
to  have  been  the  country  about  Essen,  Cleves, 
and  Munster;  and,  although  closely  allied  to  the 
Anglo-Saxon  of  England,  the  Westphalian  Saxon 
is  still  a  notably  different  form  of  speech.  It  was 
the  Angle  language  in  its  southern  variety,  or 
(changing  the  expression)  the  Angle  was  the  most 
northern  form  of  it. 

We  have  seen  that  Saxony  and  Saxon  were  no 
native  terms  on  the  Upper  Elbe.  Were  they  so  in 
the  present  area — in  Westphalia,  Eastphalia,  and 
the  land  of  the  Angrivarii?  Tacitus  knows  no 
such  name  at  all;  and  Ptolemy,  the  first  writer 
in  whom  we  find  it,  attaches  it  to  a  population  of 
the  Cimbric  Peninsula.  Afterwards,  in  the  third 
and  fourth  centuries  it  is  applied  by  the  Koman 
and  Byzantine  writers  in  a  general  sense,  to  those 
maritime  Germans  whose  piracies  were  the  bold- 
est, and  whose  descents  upon  the  Provinces  of 
Gaul  and  Britain  were  most  dreaded  Yet  no- 
where can  we  find  a  definite  tract  of  country 


upon  which  we  can  lay  our  finger  and  say  this  is 
the  land  of  Saxons,  saving  only  the  insignificant 
district  to  the  north  of  the  Elbe,  mentioned  by 
Ptolemy.  From  the  time  of  Honorius  to  that  of 
Charlemagne,  Saxo  is,  like  Franc,  a  general  term 
applied,  indeed,  to  the  maritime  Germans  rather 
than  those  of  the  interior,  and  to  those  of  the 
north  rather  than  the  south,  yet  nowhere  speci- 
fically attached  to  any  definite  population  with  a 
local  habitation  and  a  name  to  match.  When- 
ever we  come  to  detail,  the  Saxons  of  the  Ro- 
man writers  become  Chamavi,  Bructeri,  Cherusci, 
Chauci,  or  Frisii ;  while  the  Frank  details  are 
those  of  the  Ostphali,  Westphali,  and  Angrivarh. 

But  the  Frank  writers  under  the  Merovingian 
and  Carlovingian  dynasties  are  neither  the  only 
nor  the  earliest  authors  who  speak  of  the  Hano- 
verians and  Westphalians  under  the  general  name 
of  Saxon.  The  Christianized  Angles  of  England 
used  the  same  denomination ;  and,  as  early  as  the 
middle  of  the  eighth  century,  Beda  mentions  the 
Fresones,  Rugini,  Dani,  Huni,  Antiqui  Saxones, 
Boructuarii. — Hist.  Eccles.  5,  10.  Again — the 
Boructuarii,  descendants  of  the  nearly  extermi- 
nated Bructeri  of  Tacitus,  and  occupants  of  the 
country  on  the  Lower  Lippe,  are  said  to  have  been 
reduced  by  the  nation  of  the  Old  Saxons  (a  gente 
Antiquorum  Saxonum).  In  other  records  we 
find  the  epithet  Antiqui  translated  by  the  native 

THE   OLD   SAXONS.  171 

word  eald  (=  old)  and  the  formation  of  the  com- 
pound Altsaxones — Gregorius  Papa  uni verso  po- 
pulo  provincise  Altsaxonum  (vita  St.  Bonifac :). 
Lastly,  the  Anglo-Saxon  writers  of  England  use 
the  term  Eald-Seaxan  (  =  Old  Saxon).  And  this 
form  is  current  amongst  the  scholars  of  the  pre- 
sent time;  who  call  the  language  of  the  Heliand, 
of  the  so-called  Carolinian  Psalms  and  of  Hilde- 
brant  and  Hathubrant,  the  0£c£-Saxon,  in  contra- 
distinction to  the  Anglo-Saxon  of  Alfred,  Cead- 
mon,  and  the  Anglo-Saxon  Chronicle.  The  au- 
thority of  the  Anglo-Saxons  themselves  justifies 
this  compound ;  yet  it  is  by  no  means  unexcep- 
tionable. Many  a  writer  has  acquiesced  in  the 
notion  that  the  Old-Saxon  was  neither  more  nor 
less  than  the  Anglo-Saxon  in  a  continental  loca- 
lity, and  the  Anglo-Saxon  but  the  Old-Saxon 
transplanted  into  England.  Again — the  Old- 
Saxons  have  been  considered  as  men  who  struck, 
as  with  a  two-edged  sword,  at  Britain  on  the  one 
side,  and  at  Upper  Saxony  on  the  other,  so  that 
the  Saxons  of  Leipsic  and  the  Saxons  of  London 
are  common  daughters  of  one  parent — the  Saxons 
of  Westphalia. 

The  exact  relations,  however,  to  the  Old-Sax- 
ons and  the  Anglo-Saxons  seem  to  have  been  as 
follows : — 

The  so-called  Old-Saxon  is  the  old  Westpha- 
lian — 


The  so-called  Anglo-Saxon  the  old  Hanoverian 

Their  languages  were  sufficient  alike  to  be  mu- 
tually intelligible,  and  after  the  conversion  of 
the  Angles  of  England,  who  became  Christianized 
about  A.D.  600,  the  extension  of  their  own  creed 
to  the  still  Pagan  Saxons  of  the  Continent  be- 
came one  of  the  great  duties  to  the  bishops  and 
missionaries  of  Britain ;  who,  although  themselves 
of  Hanoverian  rather  than  Westphalian  extrac- 
tion, looked  upon  the  whole  stock  at  large  as 
their  parentage,  and  called  their  cousins  (so  to 
say)  in  Westphalia,  and  their  brothers  in  Hanover 
by  the  collective  term  Old-Saxon. 

All  the  Angles,  then,  of  the  Saxonia  of  the 
Frank  and  British  writers  of  the  eighth  century 
were  Saxon,  though  all  the  Saxons  were  not 

Eastphalia,  the  division  which  must  have  been 
the  most  Angle  reached  as  far  as  the  Elbe. 

But  there  was,  also,  a  Saxony  beyond  East- 
phalia, a  Saxony  beyond  the  Elbe;  the  coun- 
try of  the  Saxones  Transalbiani ;  other  names 
for  its  occupants  being  Nord-albingi  {—men  to 
the  north  of  the  Elbe),  and  Nord-leudi  (=  North 
people).     The  poet  already  quoted,  writes — 

Saxonum  populus  quidam,  quos  claudit  ab  Austro 
Albis  sejunctim  positos  Aquilonis  ad  axem. 
Hos  Xordalhiagos  patlio  seraione  vocamus. 


In  this  case  as  before,  Saxon  is  a  generic  ra- 
ther than  a  particular  name.  The  facts  that  prove 
this  give  us  also  the  geographical  position  of  the 
Nordalbingians.     They  fell  into  three  divisions  : 

1.  The  Thiedmarsi,  Thiatmarsgi,  or  Dit- 
marshers,  whose  capital  was  Meldorp: — primi  ad 
Oceanum  Thiatmarsgi,  et  eorum  ecclesia  Mil- 
dindorp — 

2.  The  Holsati,  Holtzati,  or  Holtsaztan,  from 
whom  the  present  Dutchy  of  Holstein  takes  its 
name — dicti  a  sylvis,  quas  incolunt*  The  river 
Sturia  separated  the  Holsatians  from — 

3.  The  Stormarii,  or  people  of  Stormar  ;  of 
whom  Hamburg  was  the  capital — Adam  Bre- 
mens:  Hist.  Eccles.  c.  61. 

These  are  the  Nordalbingians  of  the  eighth 
century.  Before  we  consider  their  relations  to 
the  Westphalian  and  Hanoverian  Saxons  the 
details  of  the  present  ethnology  of  the  Cimbric 
Peninsula  are  necessary.  At  the  present  moment 
Holstein,  Stormar,  and  Ditmarsh  are  Low  Ger- 
man, or  Platt-Deutsch,  districts;  the  High  Ger- 
man being  taught  in  the  schools  much  as  English 
is  taught  in  the  Scotch  Highlands.  Eydersted 
also  is  Low  German,  and  so  are  the  southern 
and  eastern  parts  of  Sleswick.  Not  so,  however, 
the  western.      Facing  the  Atlantic,  we  find  an 

*  The  compound  is  of  the  same  kind  with  the  English  words 
Dor-set,  and  Somerset,  i.  e.,  from  the  Anglo-Saxon  satan  =  settler*. 


interesting  population,  isolated  in  locality,  and 
definitely  stamped  with  old  and  original  charac- 
teristics. They  are  as  different  from  the  Low 
Germans  on  the  one  side  as  the  Dutch  are  from 
the  English ;  and  they  are  as  little  like  the  Danes 
on  the  other.  They  are  somewhat  bigger  and 
stronger  than  either;  at  least  both  Danes  and 
Germans  may  be  found  who  own  to  their  being 
bigger  if  not  better.  They  shew,  too,  a  greater 
proportion  of  blue  eyes  and  flaxen  locks ;  though 
these  are  common  enough  on  all  sides.  That 
breadth  of  frame  out  of  which  has  arisen  the  epi- 
thet Dutch-built,  is  here  seen  in  its  full  develop- 
ment; with  a  sevenfold  shield  of  thick,  woollen 
petticoats  to  set  it  of.  So  that  there  are  charac- 
teristics, both  of  dress  and  figure,  which  suffi- 
ciently distinguish  the  North-Frisian  of  Sles- 
wick  from  the  Dane  on  one  side  and  the  German 
on  the  other. 

It  is  only,  however,  in  the  more  inaccessible 
parts  of  their  country  that  the  differential  of 
dress  rise  to  the  dignity  of  a  separate  and  inde- 
pendent costume.  They  do  so,  however,  in  some 
of  those  small  islands  which  lie  off  the  coast  of 
Sleswick ;  three  of  which  are  supposed  to  have 
been  the  three  islands  of  the  Saxons,  in  the 
second  and  third  centuries.  A  party,  which  the 
writer  fell  in  with,  from  Fohr,  were  all  dressed 
alike,  all  in  black,  all  in  woollen,  with  capes  over 


the  heads  instead  of  bonnets.  "  Those/'  says  the 
driver,  who  was  himself  half  Dane  and  half  Ger- 
man, "  are  from  Fohr.  They  have  been  to  Flens- 
burg  to  see  one  of  their  relations.  He  is  a  sailor. 
They  are  all  sailors  in  Fohr.  Some  of  them,  per- 
haps, smugglers — they  all  dress  so — I  can't  speak 
to  them — my  brother  can — he  has  been  in  Eng- 
land, and  an  Englishman  can  talk  to  them — they 
talk  half  Danish  and  half  Piatt -Deutsch,  and 
half  English — more  than  half.  They  were  Eng- 
lishmen once — a  good  sort  of  people — took  no 
part  in  the  war — did  not  much  care  for  the 
Danes,  though  the  Danes  took  pains  to  persuade 
them — so  did  the  Germans,  but  they  did  not  much 
care  for  the  Germans  either — strong  men — good 
soldiers — good  sailors — Englishmen,  but  not  like 
the  Englishmen  Fve  seen  myself.  My  brother's 
been  in  London  and  America,  and  can  talk  with 

What  is  thus  said  about  their  English-hood  is 
commonly  believed  by  the  Danes  and  Germans 
of  the  Frisian  localities.  They  are  English  in 
some  way  or  other,  though  how  no  one  knows 
exactly.  And  many  learned  men  hold  the  same 
view.  It  is  a  half-truth.  They  are  more  English, 
and,  at  the  same  time,  more  Dutch,  than  any  of 
their  neighbours ;  more  so  than  either  Dane  or 
German,  but  for  all  that  they  are  something  that 
is  neither  English  nor  Dutch.    They  are  Frisians 


of  the  same  stock  as  the  Frisians  of  Friesland, 
whom  they  resemble  in  form,  and  dress,  and 
manners,  and  speech,  and  temper,  and  history. 
But  from  the  Frisians  of  the  south  they  have 
been  cut  off  for  many  centuries,  partly  by  the 
hand  of  man,  partly  by  the  powers  of  Nature, 
partly  by  invasions  from  Germans,  and  partly  b}^ 
overwhelming  inbreaks  of  the  Ocean.  There  is 
a  Frisian  country  in  the  south  (the  present 
Province  of  Friesland),  and  there  is  a  Frisian 
country  in  the  north  (the  tract  which  we  are 
speaking  of)  ;  and  these  are  parts  of  the  terra 
firma.  But  the  Friesland  that  lay  between  the 
two  is  lost — lost,  though  we  know  where  it  is. 
It  is  at  the  bottom  of  the  sea :  forfeited,  like  the 
lava-stricken  plains  of  Sicily,  of  Campania,  and  of 
Iceland,  in  the  great  game  of  Man  against  Nature 
— for  it  is  not  everywhere  that  Man  has  been  the 
winner.  The  war  of  the  Frisians  against  the 
sea  has  been  the  war  not  of  the  Titans  against 
Jove,  but  of  the  Amphibii  against  Neptune. 

Every  Frisian — Friese  as  he  calls  himself — is 
an  agriculturist,  and  it  is  only  in  the  villages 
that  the  Frisian  tongue  is  spoken.  In  the  towns 
of  Ripe,  Bredsted,  and  Husum,  small  as  they  are, 
there  is  nothing  but  Danish  and  German.  But 
in  all  the  little  hamlets  between,  the  well-built 
old  fashioned  farm-houses,  with  gable-ends  of  vast 
breadth,  and  massive  thatched  roofs  that  make 


two-thirds  of  the  height  of  the  house,  and  a 
stork's  nest  on  the  chimney,  and  a  cow-house  at 
the  end,  are  Frisian ;  and,  if  you  can  overhear 
what  they  say  amongst  themselves,  you  find  that, 
without  being  English  it  is  somewhat  like  it. 
Woman  is  the  word  which  sounds  strangest  to 
both  the  German  and  the  Dane,  and,  it  is  gene- 
rally the  first  instance  given  of  the  peculiarity 
of  the  Frisian  language.  "  Why  can't  they  speak 
properly,  and  say  Kone  V  says  the  Dane.  "  Weib 
is  the  right  word/'  says  the  German.  "  Who  ever 
says  woman  V*  cry  both.  The  language  has  not 
been  reduced  to  writing ;  indeed,  the  little  that 
has  been  done  with  it  is  highly  discreditable  to 
the  Sleswick-Holstein  Church  Establishment.  It 
is  spoken  by  upwards  of  thirty-thousand  indi- 
viduals ;  and  when  we  remember  that  the  whole 
population  of  Denmark  is  less  than  that  of  Lon- 
don and  the  suburbs,  we  see  at  once  that  a  large 
proportion  of  it  has  been  less  heeded  in  respect 
to  its  spiritualities  than  the  Gaels  and  Welsh  of 
Great  Britain. 

You  may  distinguish  a  Frisian  parish  as  the 
Eton  grammar  distinguishes  nouns  of  the  neuter 
gender.  It  is  -omne  quod  exit  in  -um;  for  so 
end  nine  out  of  ten  of  the  Frisian  villages.  Now, 
throughout  the  whole  length  and  breadth  of 
the  Brekkelums,  and  Stadums,  &c,  that  lie 
along    the    coast,  from  Ripe    north  to  Husitm 


south,  there  is  not  one  church  service  that  is  per- 
formed in  Frisian,  or  half-a-dozen  priests  who 
could  perform  it.  No  fraction  of  the  Liturgy  is 
native  ;  nor  has  it  ever  been  so.  Danish  there 
is,  and  German  there  is  ;  German,  too,  of  two 
kinds — High  and  Low.  The  High  German  is 
taught  in  the  schools,  and  that  well;  so  well, 
that  nowhere  are  the  answers  of  the  little  chil- 
dren more  easily  understood  by  such  travellers 
as  are  not  over  strong  in  their  language  than  in 
the  Friese  country.  Nevertheless,  it  is  but  a 
well-taught  lesson  ;  and  by  no  means  excuses  the 
neglect  of  the  native  idiom. 

As  things  are  at  present,  this  is,  perhaps,  all  for 
the  best.  The  complaint  lies  against  the  original 
neglect  of  the  Frisian;  and  its  gravaTnen  is  the 
sad  tale  it  so  silently  tells  of  previous  centraliza- 
tion— by  which  is  meant  arbitrary  and  unjustifi- 
able oppression  ;  for  at  no  distant  time  back,  the 
Frisians  must  have  formed  a  very  considerable 
proportion  of  the  Sleswickers,  and,  at  the  begin- 
ning of  the  Historical  period,  the  majority.  And 
yet  it  was  not  thought  of  Christianizing  them 
through  their  own  tongue  ;  a  tongue  which,  be- 
cause it  has  never  been  systematically  reduced  to 
writing,  conscientious  clergymen  say  is  incapable 
of  being  written.  As  if  the  Frisian  of  Friesland, 
the  Frisian  of  the  south,  had  not  been  the  lan- 
guage of  law  and  poetry  for  more  than  eight 


hundred  years,  and,  as  if  it  were  a  bit  harder  to 
write,  or  print,  the  northern  dialect  of  the  same, 
than  it  was  for  Scotland  to  have  a  literature. 
For  the  tongue  is  no  growth  of  yesterday.  It 
may,  possibly,  be  as  much  older  as  any  other 
tongue  of  the  Peninsula  as  the  Welsh  is  older 
than  the  English.  That  it  is  older  than  some 
of  them  is  certain.  Amateur  investigators  of  it 
there  are,  of  course.  Outzen,  the  pastor  of  Brek- 
kelum,  was  the  father  of  them  ;  and  honourable 
mention  is  due  to  the  present  clergyman  in  Hack- 
sted.  As  a  general  rule,  however,  the  religion  of 
Sleswick  has  been  centralized. 

The  literature,  as  far  as  it  has  been  collected, 
consists  of  a  wedding-song  of  the  fifteenth  century, 
to  be  found  in  Camerarius,  with  addition  of,  per- 
haps, a  dozen  such  morceaux  as  the  following  ap- 
proaches to  song,  epigram,  and  ballad,  respectively, 

Lset  foanimen  kom  ins  jordt  to  meh, 
Ik  hev  en  blanken  daaler  to  dek, 
Di  vsel  ik  deh  vel  zjonke, 
Dse  sjsellt  du  beh  meh  tjonke, 

Lset  foammen,  &c. 

Ik  *  vrel  for  tusend  daaler  ej 
Dat  ik  het  haad  of  vaas, 
Den  lup  ik  med  den  rump  ombej 
En  vost  ekj  vger  ik  var. 

This  is  so  mixed  up  with  Danish  as  scarcely  to  be  Frisian. 



Diar  kam  en  skep  bi  Sudher  Sioe 

Me  tri  jung  Fruers  on  di  Floot. 

Hokken  wiar  di  fordeorst  ? 

Dit  wiar  Peter  Rothgrun. 

Hud  saat  hi  sin  spooren? 

Fuar  Hennerk  Jerkens  dtitir. 

Hokken  kam  to  Diiiir  ? 

Marrike  sallef, 

Me  Kriik  en  Bekker  on  di  jen  hundh, 

En  guide  Ring  aur  di  udker  hundh. 

Jii  nobdhight  horn  en  sin  Hinghst  in, 

Dod  di  Hingst  Haaver  und  Peter  wiin. 

Toonkh  Gott  fuar  des  gud  dei. 

Al  di  Brid  end  bridmaaner  of  wei, 

Butolter  Marri  en  Peter  alliining ! 

Jii  look  horn  tin  to  Kest 

En  wildh  horn  nimmer  muar  mest. 

Little  woman  come  in  the  yard  to  me, 
I  have  a  white  dollar  for  thee; 
I  will  give  it  you 
So  that  you  think  of  me. 

I  would  not  for  a  thousand  dollars, 
That  my  head  were  off, 
Then  should  I  run  with  my  trunk, 
And  know  (wiss)  not  where  I  was. 

There  came  a  ship  by  the  South  Sea, 
With  three  young  wooers  on  the  flood; 
Who  was  the  first  ? 


That  was  Peter  Rothgrun. 

Where  set  he  his  tracts] 

For  Hennerk  Jerken's  door. 

Who  came  to  door  ? 

Mary-kin  herself, 

With  a  pitcher  (crock)  and  beaker  in  the  one  hand, 

A  gold  ring  on  the  other  hand. 

She  pressed  him  and  his  horse  (to  come)  in, 

Grave  the  horse  oats  and  Peter  wine. 

Thank  God  for  this  good  day  ! 

All  the  brides  and  bridesmen  out  of  the  way  ! 

Except  Mary  and  Peter  alone. 

She  locked  him  up  in  her  box, 

And  never  would  miss  him  more. 

This  was  what  became  of  Peter;  who  is,  per- 
haps, the  most  legendary  and  heroic  of  the  North- 
Frisians — so  that  the  development  in  this  line 
lies  within  a  small  compass. 

The  Isle  of  Nordstand  is  Low  German  (Platt- 
Deutsch)  in  language,  but  in  blood  and  pedigree 
is  Frisian;  as,  indeed,  it  was  in  speech  up  to  A.D. 
1610.  Then  came  a  great  inundation,  which  de- 
stroyed half  the  cattle  of  the  island,  and  beggared 
its  inhabitants ;  who  were  removed  by  their  hard- 
hearted lord  the  Count  of  Gottorp  to  the  conti- 
nent, and  replaced  by  Low  Germans. 

The  island  of  Pelvorm  is  in  the  same  category 
with  Nordstand,  the  population  being  essentially 
Frisian  though  the  Piatt -Deutsch  form  of  speech 
has  replaced  the  native  dialect ;  which  was  spoken 
in  both  islands  A.D.  1639. 


Amrom  partially  preserves  it ;  though  the  Fri- 
sian character  is  less  marked  than  in — 

Fdhr.— Here  all  the  names  which  in  English 
would  end  in  -ham,  in  High  German  in  -heim,  in 
Low  German  in  -hem,  and  in  Danish  in  -by  (as 
Threking  -ham,  Mann-^eim,  Am-hem,  Wis  -by) 
take  the  form  in  -um,  the  vowel  being  changed 
into  u-,  and  the  h-  being  omitted,  as  D\ms-wm, 
Utters-um,  Midi-urn,  &c. — and  this  is  a  sure  sign 
of  Frisian  occupancy.  In  Fdhr,  too,  the  language 
is  still  current. 

Of  Sylt,  the  southern  part  has  its  names  in  the 
Frisian  form ;  as  Horn-urn,  Mors-um,  &c.  The 
northern  half,  however,  is  Danish,  and  the  vil- 
lages end  in  -by. 

Such  is  the  present  area  of  North-Frisians ; 
which  we  shall  see  lies  north  of  that  of  the  Nord- 

Nevertheless,  the  present  writer  believes  that, 
either  there  was  no  difference  whatever  between 
the  Angles  and  the  Saxons,  or  that  the  Saxons 
were  North-Frisians. 

Let  us,  for  a  while,  allow  the  name  Saxon  to  be 
so  little  conclusive  as  to  the  ethnological  position 
of  these  same  Nordalbingians  as  to  leave  the 
question  open. 

The  first  fact  that  meets  us  is  the  existence  of 
the  Frisians  of  Holland  not  only  south  of  the 
Elbe  but  south  of  Weser. 


East  Friesland,  as  its  name  shews,  is  Frisian 
also;  although,  with  a  few  exceptional  localities 
in  the  very  fenny  districts,  the  language  has  been 
replaced  by  the  German. 

Notwithstanding,  too,  its  sanctity  in  the  eyes 
of  the  Angle  worshipper  of  the  Goddess  Hertha, 
Heligoland  at  the  beginning  of  the  Historical 
period  was  not  exactly  Angle.  It  was  what  the 
opposite  coast  was — Frisian.  And  Oldenburg, 
was  Frisian  as  well;  indeed  the  whole  area  occu- 
pied by  the  two  great  nations  of  antiquity — the 
Frisii  and  Chauci — was  neither  Old-Saxon  nor 
Angle-Saxon  It  differed  from  each  rather  more 
than  they  differed  from  each  other,  and,  accord- 
ingly, constituted  a  separate  variety  of  the  Ger- 
man tongue. 

So  that  there  were,  and  are,  two  Frisian  areas, 
one  extending  no  farther  north  than  the  Elbe, 
and  the  other  extending  no  farther  south  than 
the  Eyder. 

And  between  these  two  lies  that  of  the  Nord- 
albingians.  This  alone  is  primd  facie  evidence 
of  their  being  Frisian  ;  for  we  should  certainly 
arome  that  if  Norfolk  and  Essex  were  English, 
Suffolk  was  English  also.  Of  course,  it  might 
not  be  so:  as  intrusion  and  displacement  might 
have  taken  place  ;  but  intrusion  and  displace- 
ment are  not  to  be  too  lightly  and  gratuitously 
assumed.   The  Frisian  of  Oldenburg  can  be  traced 


up  to  the  Elbe,  and  the  Frisian  of  Sleswick  can 
be  followed  down  to  the  Eyder. 

Eydersted,  however,  and  Holstein  are  Low 
German.  Were  they  always  so  ?  Of  Eydersted, 
Jacob  Sax,  himself  a  Low  German  of  the  district, 
writes,  A.D.  1610,  that  "the  inhabitants  besides 
the  Saxon,  use  their  own  extraordinary  natural 
speech,  which  is  the  same  as  the  East  and  West 

For  Ditmarsh  the  evidence  is  inconclusive.  But 
one  or  two  names  end  in  -um. 

As  early  as  A.D.  1452  the  following  inscription 
which  was  found  on  a  font  in  Pelvorm  was  un- 
intelligible to  the  natives  of  Ditmarsh,  who  car- 
ried it  off — disse  hirren  Dope  de  have  wi  thbn 
ewigen  Ohnthonken  mage  lete,  da  schollen  osse 
Berrne  in  kressent  warde"  =  "this  here  dip  (font) 
we  have  let  be  made  as  an  everlasting  remem- 
brance :  there  shall  our  bairns  be  cristened  in 
it."  Clemens  translates  this  into  the  present 
Frisian  of  Amrom,  which  runs  thus — "  thas  hirr 
dop  di  ha  wi  tun  iwagen  Unthonken  mage  leat, 
thiar  skell  iis  Biarner  un  krassent  wurd/'  Still, 
Clemens  thinks  that  the  dress  and  domestic  uten- 
sils of  the  present  Ditmarshers  are  more  Frisian 
than  Platt-Deutsch.  Now  whatever  the  ancient 
tongue  of  Ditmarsh  may  have  been,  it  was  not 
the  present  Platt-Deutsch;  yet,  if  it  were  Frisian, 
it  had  become  obsolete  before  A.D.  1452. 


That  we  are  justified  in  assuming  an  original 
continuity  between  the  North  and  South  Frisian 
areas  may  readily  be  admitted.  There  are,  of 
course,  reasonable  objections  against  it — the  want 
of  proof  of  Frisian  character  of  the  language  of 
Ditmarsh  being  the  chief.  Still,  the  principle 
which  would  lead  us  to  predicate  of  Suffolk  what 
we  had  previously  predicated  of  Norfolk  and 
Essex,  induces  us  to  do  the  same  with  the  district 
in  question,  and  to  argue  that  if  Eydersted,  to 
the  North,  and  the  parts  between  Bremen  and 
Cuxhaven,  to  the  South,  were  Frisian,  Ditmarsh, 
which  lay  between  them,  was  Frisian  also. 

But  this  may  have  been  the  case  without  the 
Nordalbingians  being  Frisian;  since  an  Angle 
movement,  northward  and  westward,  may  easily 
have  taken  place  in  the  sixth,  seventh,  or  eighth 
centuries ;  in  which  case  the  Stormarii,  Holtsati, 
and  Ditmarsi  were  Angle;  intrusive,  non-indi- 
genous, and,  perhaps,  of  mixed  blood — but  still 

I  am  not  prepared,  however,  to  go  further  at 
present  upon  this  point  than  to  a  repetition  of 
a  previous  statement,  viz. :  that  if  the  Saxons 
of  Anglo-Saxon  England  were  other  than  An- 
gles under  a  different  name,  they  were  North- 

Saxony  and  Saxon  we  have  seen  to  be,  for  the 
most  part,  general  names  for  certain  populations 


of  considerable  magnitude,  populations  which 
when  investigated  in  detail  have  been  Ostphali, 
Angrarii,  Stormarii,  &c.,  &c.  Ptolemy  alone  as- 
signs to  the  word  a  specific  power,  and  in  Pto- 
lemy alone  is  the  country  of  the  Saxons  the 
definite  circumscribed  area  of  a  special  population. 
Ptolemy,  as  has  been  already  shewn,  places  the 
Saxons  on  the  neck  of  the  Chersonese  to  the  north 
of  the  Chauci  of  the  Elbe,  and  to  the  East  of  the 
Sigulones — there  or  thereabouts  in  Stormar.  He 
also  gives  them  three  of  the  islands  off  the  coasts 
of  Holstein  and  Sleswick ;  though  it  is  uncertain 
and  unimportant  which  three  he  means.  Hence, 
the  Saxons  of  Ptolemy,  truly  Nord-albingian,  co- 
incide in  locality  with  the  subsequent  Stormarii, 
the  Sigulones  being  similarly  related  to  the  Hol- 
satians.  Yet  neither  the  Saxon  es  nor  the  Sigu- 
lones may  have  been  the  ancestors  to  their  re- 
spective successors,  any  more  than  the  Durotriges, 
or  Iceni  of  England  were  the  ancestors  to  the 
Anglo-Saxons  of  Dorsetshire  and  Norfolk. 

Before  this  point  comes  under  consideration  we 
must  ask  a  question  already  suggested  as  to  the 
Saxons  of  the  ninth  century.  Were  they  Frisians 
or  Angles  ? 

Strongly  impressed  with  the  belief  that  no 
third  division  of  the  Saxon  section  of  the  Ger- 
mans beyond  that  represented  by  the  Angles  of 
Hanover  and  the  Old  Saxons  of  Westphalia  can 


be  shewn  to  have  existed  or  need  be  assumed,  I 
have  thus  limited  the  problem,  although  the  third 
question  as  to  the  probability  of  their  having  been 
something  different  from  either  may  be  raised.  I 
also  believe  that  the  Frisians  reached  Sleswick  by 
an  extension  of  their  frontier,  tins  being  the  rea- 
son why  the  original  continuity  of  their  area  is 
assumed, — at  the  same  time  admitting  the  possi- 
bility of  their  having  come  by  sea,  in  which  case 
no  such  continuity  is  necessary.  What  we  find 
on  the  Eyder,  and  also  on  the  Elbe  may  fairly  be 
supposed  to  have  once  been  discoverable  in  the 
intermediate  country. 

Assuming,  then,  an  original  continuity  of  the 
Frisian  area  from  Sleswick  to  the  Elbe  anterior 
to  the  conquest  of  Ditmarsh  and  Holsatia  by  the 
present  Low  German  occupants  to  be  a  fair  in- 
ference from  the  present  distribution  of  the  North 
Frisians,  and  the  history  of  their  known  and  re- 
corded displacements,  we  may  ask"  how  far  it  fol- 
lows that  this  displacement  was  effected  by  the 
ancestors  of  the  present  Holsteiners ;  in  other 
words,  how  far  it  is  certain  that  the  present  Hol- 
steiners succeeded  immediately  to  the  Frisians. 
There  is  a  question  here;  since  the  continuity 
may  have  been  broken  by  a  population  which  was 
itself  broken-up  in  its  turn.  It  may  have  been 
broken  by  Angle  inroads  even  as  early  as  the 
time  of  Tacitus.     If  so,  the   order  of  succession 


would  not  be  1.  Frisian.  2.  Low  German,  but  1. 
Frisian,  2.  Angle  or  Anglo-Saxon,  3.  Low  German. 

The  Holsati,  Stormarii,  and  Ditmarsi  were, 
most  probably,  Angle.  That  they  were  not  the 
ancestors  of  the  present  Low -Dutch  is  nearly 
certain.  The  date  is  too  early  for  this.  It  was 
not  till  some  time  after  the  death  of  Charlemagne 
that  the  spread  of  that  section  of  the  German 
family  reached  Holstein.  That  they  were  not 
Frisian  is  less  certain,  but  it  is  inferred  from  the 
manner  in  which  they  are  mentioned  by  the  na- 
tive poet  already  quoted ;  who,  if  he  had  consid- 
ered the  Frisians  to  have  been  sufficiently  Saxon 
to  pass  under  that  denomination,  would  have 
carried  his  Nordalbingian  Saxony  as  far  as  the 
most  northern  boundary  of  the  North-Frisians. 

The  evidence,  then,  is  in  favour  of  the  Nordal- 
bingians  having  been  Anglo-Saxon  in  the  ninth 
century,  and  that  under  the  name  Stormarii, 
Holsati,  and  Ditmarsi.  Were  they  equally  so  in 
the  third,  i.e.,  when  Ptolemy  wrote,  and  when 
the  names  under  which  he  noticed  them  were 
Saxones  and  Sigulones?  I  should  not  like  to 
say  this.  The  encroachment  upon  the  Frisian 
area — the  continuity  being  assumed — may  not 
have  begun  thus  early.  Nay,  even  the  north- 
ward extension  of  the  Frisian  area  may  not  have 
begun.  I  should  not  even  like  to  say  positively 
that  the  Saxons  of  Ptolemy  were  German  at  all. 


They  may  have  been  Slavonians — a  continua- 
tion of  the  Wagrian  and  Polabic  populations  of 
Eastern  Holstein  and  Lauenburg. 

To  say,  too,  that  Ptolemy's  term  Saxon  was  a 
native  name  would  be  hazardous.  We  can  only 
say  that  when  we  get  definite  information  re- 
specting the  districts  to  which  it  applied  it  was  not 
so.  It  was  no  Nordalbingian  name  to  the  Storm- 
arians,  no  Nordalbingian  name  to  the  Holsa- 
tians,  no  Nordalbingian  name  to  the  men  of 
Ditmarsh,  no  Nordalbingian  name  to  any  of  the 
islanders.  It  was  no  native  name  with  any  spe- 
cific import  at  all.  It  was  a  general  name  ap- 
plied to  the  countries  in  question,  as  it  was  to 
many  others  besides  ;  and  it  was  the  Franks  who 
applied  it.  It  had  been  specific  once  ;  but,  when 
it  was  so,  no  one  knew  who  bore  it,  or  who  gave 
it.  It  may  have  been  Slavonic  applied  to  Slavo- 
nians, or  German  applied  to  Germans,  or  German 
applied  to  Slavonians,  or  Slavonic  applied  to  Ger- 
mans.    Which  was  it  ? 

Who  bore  it  ?  In  the  first  instance  the  occu- 
pants of  the  northern  bank  of  the  Elbe,  and  some 
of  the  islands  of  the  coast  of  Holstein  and  Sles- 
wick ;  men  of  the  wooded  districts  of  J9oZ£-satia, 
whose  timber  gave  them  the  means  of  building 
ships,  and  whose  situation  on  the  coast  developed 
the  habit  of  using  them  to  the  annoyance  of  their 
neighbours.     This  is  all  that  can  be  said. 


Who  spread  it  abroad  ?  The  Romans  first,  the 
Franks  afterwards.  They  it  was  who  called  by 
the  name  of  Saxon  men  who  never  so  called 
themselves,  e.g.,  the  Angrivarians,  the  Westpha- 
lians,  the  Saxons  of  Upper  Saxony. 

How  did  the  Romans  get  it  ?  From  the  Kelts 
of  Gaul  and  Britain. 

How  came  the  Kelts  by  it  ?  The  usual  answer 
to  this :  that  they  got  it  from  the  Saxons  them- 
selves, the  Saxons  being,  of  course,  Germans. 
But  the  main  object  of  the  present  chapter  has 
been  to  shew  the  extremely  unsatisfactory  nature 
of  the  evidence  of  any  Germans  having  so  called 
themselves.  Assuredly,  if  they  stopped  at  the 
present  point,  the  reasons  for  believing  the  name 
to  have  been  native  would  be  eminently  unsatis- 
factory. The  best  fact  would  be  in  the  language 
of  Beda,  who,  as  we  have  seen,  called  the  West- 
phalians  Old-Saxons.  But  Beda  often  allowed 
himself  to  use  the  language  of  his  authorities, 
most  of  whom  wrote  in  Latin,  and  some  of  whom 
were  Gauls  or  Britons. 

But  four  fresh  ones  can  be  added — 

1.  There  is  the  element  -sex  in  the  names  Es- 
sex,  Wes-sex,  Sussex,  and  Middle-sea?. 

2.  The  name  Sax-neot  was  that  of  a  deity,  whom 
the  Old  Saxons,  on  their  conversion  to  Christian- 
ity, were  compelled  to  foreswear.  This  gives  us  the 
likelihood  of  its  being  the  name  of  an  eponymus. 

THE   TERM   SAXON.  191 

3.  The  story  about  nime\  eoivre  Seaxas  =  take 
your  daggers,  and  the  deduction  from  it,  that 
Saxons  meant  dagger-men,  is  of  no  great  weight ; 
with  the  present  writer,  at  least.  Still,  as  far  as 
it  goes,  it  is  something. 

4.  The  Finlanders  call  the  Germans  Saxon. 
The  necessity  of  getting  as  far  as  we  can  into 

the  obscure  problems  connected  with  this  word 
is  urgent.  One  part  of  England  is  more  evi- 
dently Saxon  than  another  ;  at  least,  it  bears 
certain  outward  and  visible  signs  of  Saxonism 
which  are  wanting  elsewhere.  What  are  we  to 
say  to  this  ?  That  ILs-sex  is  Saxon,  and,  as  Saxon, 
something  notably  different  from  Suffolk  which 
is  Angle  ?  It  may  have  been  so  ;  yet  the  minutest 
ethnology  ever  applied  has  failed  in  detecting  the 
differential.  They  have,  indeed,  been  assumed, 
and  an  unduly  broad  distinction  between  the 
dialect  of  Angle  and  the  dialects  of  Saxon  origin 
has  been  drawn  ;  but  the  distinction  is  unreal. 
Angle  iVor^/mmberland  and  Saxon  Sussex  differ 
from  each  other,  not  because  they  are  Angle  and 
Saxon,  but  because  they  are  northern,  and  south- 
ern counties.  And  so  on  throughout.  The  dif- 
ference between  Angle  and  Saxon  Britain  has 
ever  been  assumed  to  be  real,  whereas  it  may  be 
but  nominal. 

Let  us  suppose  it  to  be  the  latter,  and  Saxon 
to  have  been  the  British  name  of  the  Angle — 


nothing  more.  What  do  names  like  Sus-s&e,  &c., 
indicate?  Not  that  the  population  was  less  Angle 
than  elsewhere,  but  that  it  was  more  Roman  or 
British — an  important  distinction. 

Again — certain  Frisians  are  stated  by  Proco- 
pius  to  have  dwelt  in  Britain ;  though  Beda 
makes  no  mention  of  them.  Assume,  however, 
that  the  Saxons  of  the  latter  writer  were  the 
Frisians  of  the  former,  and  all  is  plain  and  clear. 
But,  then,  they  should  be  more  unlike  the  Angles 
than  they  can  be  shewn  to  have  been. 

But  why  refine  upon  these  points  at  all  ?  Why, 
when  we  admit  the  Nordalbingians  to  have  been 
Angle,  demur  to  their  having  called  themselves 
Saxons?  I  do  this  because  I  cannot  get  over  the 
fact  of  the  king  who  first  decreed  that  his  king- 
dom should  be  called  Angle-land  having  been  no 
Angle  but  a  West-Saxon.  That  he  should  give 
the  native  German  name  precedence  over  the 
Roman  and  Keltic  is  likely ;  but  that,  by  call- 
ing himself  and  his  immediate  subjects  Saxon,  he 
should  change  the  name  to  Angle,  is  as  unlikely 
as  that  a  King  of  Prussia  should  propose  that 
all  Germany  should  be  known  as  Austria.  Of 
course,  if  the  evidence  in  favour  of  the  word 
Saxon  being  native  was  of  a  certain  degree  of 
cogency,  we  must  take  the  preceding  improba- 
bility as  we  find  it;  but  no  such  cogent  evidence 
can  be  found.    Saxon  is  always  a  name  that  some 

THE  TERM   SAXOX.  193 

one  may  give  to  some  one  else,  never  one  that  he 
necessarily  bears  himself. 

Were  the  conquerors,  then,  of  Sus-se^,  &c, 
other  than  Nordalbingian  ?  I  do  not  say  this  ? 
I  only  say  that  the  evidence  of  their  coming  from 
the  special  district  of  Holstein  does  not  lie  in 
their  name.  Germans  from  the  south  of  the  Elbe 
would — according  to  the  preceding  hypothesis 
— have  been  equally  Saxon  in  the  eyes  of  the 
degenerate  Romans  and  the  corrupted  Britons 
whom  they  conquered. 

We  are  still  dealing  with  the  origin  of  the 
name.  The  Franks  and  Romans  diffused  and 
generalized,  the  Kelts  suggested,  it.  That  the 
name  was  Keltic  is  undenied  and  undeniable. 
The  Welsh  and  Gaels  know  us  to  the  present 
moment  as  Saxons,  and  not  as  Englishmen.  The 
only  doubt  has  been  as  to  how  far  it  was  ex- 
clusively Keltic — i.  e.,  non-Germanic. 

Will  the  supposition  of  its  being  Keltic  account 
for  all  the  facts  connected  with  it  ?  No.  It  will 
not  account  for  the  Finlanders  using  it.  The}r, 
like  the  Kelts,  call  the  Germans  Saxon.  This, 
then,  is  a  fresh  condition  to  be  satisfied.  The 
hypothesis  which  does  this  is,  that  the  name 
Saxo  was  applied  by  the  Slavonians  of  the 
Baltic  as  well  as  by  Kelts  of  the  coasts  of  Gaul 
and  Briton  to  the  pirates  of  the  neck  of  the 
Chersonese,  —  the   Slavonic     designation    being 


adopted  by  the  Finlanders  just  as  the  Keltic 
was  by  the  Romans. 

And  this  supplies  an  argument  in  favour  of  the 
name  having  been  native,  since  a  little  considera- 
tion will  shew  that,  when  two  different  nations 
speak  of  a  third  by  the  same  name,  the  jwvmA 
facie  evidence  is  in  favour  of  the  population  to 
whom  it  is  applied  by  their  neighbours  applying 
it  to  themselves  also. 

Yet  this  is  no  proof  of  its  being  German :  nor 
yet  of  the  men  of  Wes-sex,  &c,  being  Nordal- 
bingian.  All  that  we  get  from  the  British  coun- 
ties ending  in  -sex  is,  that  in  certain  parts  of 
the  island,  the  British  name  for  certain  German 
pirates  prevailed  over  the  native,  whereas,  in 
others,  the  native  prevailed  over  the  British. 

If  this  be  but  a  trifling  conclusion  in  respect  to 
its  positive  results,  it  is  one  of  some  negative 
value;  inasmuch,  as  when  we  have  shewn  that 
Angle  and  Saxon  are,  to  a  great  extent,  the  same 
names  in  different  languages,  we  have  rid  our- 
selves  of  the  imaginary  necessity  of  investigating 
such  imaginary  differences  as  the  difference  of 
name,  at  the  first  view,  suggests.  We  have  also 
ascertained  the  historical  import  of  the  spread  of 
the  names  Saxon  and  Saxony.  They  spread,  not 
because  certain  Saxons  originating  in  a  district 
no  bigger  than  the  county  of  Rutland,  bodily  took 
possession  of  vast  tracts  of  country  in  Germany, 


Britain,  and  Gaul,  but  because  a  great  number 
of  Germans  were  called  by  the  name  of  a  small 
tribe,  just  as  the  Hellenes  of  Thessaly,  Attica,  and 
Peloponessus  were  called  by  the  Romans,  Greeks. 
The  true  Grceci  were  a  tribe  of  dimensions  nearly 
as  small  in  respect  to  the  Hellenes  at  large  as 
the  Saxons  of  Ptolemy  were  to  the  Germans  in 
general  (perhaps,  indeed,  they  were  not  Hellenic 
at  all) ;  yet  it  was  the  Grceci  whom  the  Romans 
identified  with  the  Hellenes.  No  one,  however, 
believes  that  the  Grseci  extended  themselves  to 
the  extent  of  the  term  Grcecia.  On  the  contrary, 
every  one  admits  that  it  was  only  the  import  of 
the  name  which  became  enlarged.  And  this  I 
believe  to  have  been  the  case  with  the  word 

Saxon,  then,  like  Greek,  was  a  general  name. 
Nevertheless,  they  were  specific  Saxons  just  as 
they  were  specific  Grwci.  These  were  the  Saxons 
of  Ptolemy.  When  that  author  wrote,  I  believe 
them  to  have  been  either  Frisian  or  Slavonians, 
without  saying  which — Frisians,  if  we  look  for 
their  affinities  to  the  south  of  the  Elbe  ;  Slavo- 
nians, if  we  seek  them  to  the  east  of  the  Bille. 

Between  the  time  of  Ptolemy  and  the  end  of 
the  fourth  century,  the  name  grew  into  import- 
ance, and  became  a  name  of  terror  to  the  Ro- 
mans, Gauls,  and  Britons,  who  applied  it  to  the 
northern  Germans  of  the  sea-board  in  general. 

396  THE  SAXONS. 

The  spread  of  the  name  along  the  sea-coast 
began  in  the  fourth  century.  Claudian  alludes  to 
a  naval  victory  over  them 

"  maduerunt  Saxone  fuso 


This  gives  them  a  robbing-ground  as  far  north 
as  the  Orkneys. 

Ammianus  notices  their  descent  upon  Gaul ; 
and  writes  that  in  the  reign  of  Valentinian  "  Gal- 
licanos  vero  tractus  Franci  et  Saxones  iisdem  con- 
fines, quo  quisque  erumpere  potuit,  terra  vel  mari, 
praedis  acerbis  incendiisque  et  captivorum  fune- 
ribus  hominum  violabant." 

Again — "  Valentinianus  Saxones,  gentem  in 
Oceani  litoribus  et  paludibus  inviis  sitam,  virtute 
et  agilitate  terribilem,  periculosam  Romanis  fini- 
bus,  eruptionem  magna  mole  meditantes,  in  ipsis 
Francorumfinibus  oppressit."    Oros.  7,  32. 

A  victory  over  the  Saxones  at  Deuso-(Deutz, 
opposite  Cologne)  is  referred  by  more  than  one 
of  the  later  writers  to  the  same  reign. 

The  banks  of  the  Loire  are  their  next  quarters, 
Anjou  being  their  chief  locality,  and  their  great 
captain  bearing  a  name  of  which  the  Latin  form 
was  Adovacrius — "igitur  Childericus  Aurelianis 
pugnas  egit :  Adovacrius  vero  cum  Saxonibus  An- 
degavos  venit  .  .  .  (Aegidio)  defuncto  Adovacrius 
de  Andegavo  et  aliis  locis  obsides  accepit .  .  .  Ve- 
niente  vero  Adovacrio  Andegavis,  Childericus  rex 

THE  SAXONS.  197 

sequenti  die  advenit ;  interemtoque  Paulo  Comite, 
civitatem  obtinuit.  Greg.  Tur.  2,  18;  his  itaque 
gestis,  inter  Saxonies  atque  Romanos  bellum  ges- 
tum  est,  sed  Saxones  terga  vertentes  multos  de 
suis,  Romanis  insequentibus,  gladio  reliquerunt : 
insulae  eorum  cum  multo  populo  interemto  a 
Francis  captae  atque  subversae  sunt  .  . .  Adova- 
crius  cum  Childerico  foedus  iniit,  Alamannosque 
subjugarunt  id.  2,  19/' 

Of  Saxons  who  joined  the  Lombards  in  the  in- 
vasion of  Italy  we  also  hear  from  the  same  author 
— "  Post  hsec  Saxones  qui  cum  Langobardis  in 
Italiam  venerant,  iterum  prorumpunt  in  Gallias, 
.  .  .  scilicet  ut  a  Sigiberto  rege  collecti  in  loco, 
unde  egressi  fuerant,  stabilirentur  ...  Hi  vero  ad 
Sigibertum  regem  transeuntes,  in  locum,  unde 
prius  egressi  fuerant,  stabiliti  sunt/'    4,  43. 

The  best  measure,  however,  of  the  Saxon  pira- 
cies is  to  be  found  in  two  terms,  each  of  which  has 
always  commanded  the  attention  of  investigators 
— the  names  Saxones  Bajocassini  and  Littus 

1.  Saxones  Bajocassini  or  the  Saxons  of  Bay - 
eux  are  mentioned  under  that  name  by  Gregory 
of  Tours  (§.  27.  10.  9) ;  and  in  a  charter  of  Charles 
the  Bald  there  is  the  notice  of  a  pagns  in  the 
same  district  called  Ot  lingual.  Zeuss  reason- 
ably suggests,  as  an  emended  reading,  Otlinga; 
in  which  case  we  have  one  of  the  numerous  equi- 


valents  of  those  local  names  which,  in  the  modern 

English,  end  in  -ing,  and  in  the  Anglo-Saxon,  in 

-ingas — Palling,   Notting,    Horbling,   Billing — 

iEsclingas,  Gillingas,  &c,  &c.     Who  were  these? 

When  we  hear  of  Bayeux  again,  i.  e.,  in  the  tenth 

century  it  is  alluded  to  as  the  most  Scandinavian 

or  Norse  town  of  Normandy,  the  only  one  indeed 

where  the  Norse  language  and  customs  were  de- 
cs    o 

cidedly  retained.  These  Saxons,  then,  may  have 
been  Norsemen.  But  they  may  equally  easily 
have  been  Angles,  or  Frisians ;  since  a  Norse  con- 
quest in  the  tenth  is  perfectly  compatible  with  a 
German  in  the  fifth  century ;  and,  in  Britain, 
such  was  actually  the  case. 

2.  The  Littus  Saxonicum  is  a  term  in  the  J¥o- 
titia  Dignitatum,  which  appears  in  three  places. 
In  chapter  xxxvi,  where  we  have  the  details  of 
the  sea-coast  of  Gaul,  under  the  denomination  of 
the  Tractus  Armoricanus,  the  first  officer — 

[§.  1.]  Sub  dispositione  viri  spectabilis  Ducis 
Tractus  Armoricani  et  Nervicani — 


[a]  [1.]  Tribunus  Cohortis  Primge  Novae  Ar- 
moricse  Grannona  in  Littore  Saxonico. 

b.  Cap.  xxxvii.  [§.  1.]  Sub  Dispositione  viri 
spectabilis  Ducis  Belgicse  Secundse — 

[1.]  Equites  Dalmataa  Marcis  in  Littore  Sax- 

c.  These  but  give  us  a  Littus  Saxonicum  in 


Gaul.  The  25th  chapter  supplies  one  for  Britain, 
and  that  with  considerable  detail — 

[§.  1.]  Sub  dispositione  viri  spectabilis  comitis 
Littoris  Saxonici  per  Britanniam : 

[1.]  Propositus  Numeri  Fortensium  Othonse. 

[2.]  Prsepositus  Militum  Tungricanorum  Du- 
bris,  &c. 

It  is  not  necessary  to  go  through  the  de- 
tail. It  is  sufficient  to  say  that  we  find  stations 
at  the  following  undoubted  localities — Brancas- 
ter,  Yarmouth,  Reculvers,  Richborough,  Dover, 
Lymne,  and  the  mouth  of  the  Adur.  Putting 
this  together  it  is  safe  to  say  that  the  whole  line 
of  coast  from  the  Wash  to  the  Southampton  water 
was,  in  the  reign  of  Honorius,  if  not  earlier,  a 
Littus  Saxonicum — whatever  may  have  been  the 
import  of  that  term. 

Looking  over  the  preceding  details  we  find  how 
hazardous  it  would  be  to  predicate  concerning 
the  several  populations  designated  as  Saxons  any 
single  statement  beyond  that  of  their  having  been 
pirates  from  the  north-German  sea-board.  Some 
may  have  been  Angle,  some  Frisian,  some  Platt- 
Deutsch,  some  Scandinavian.  Nay,  the  name 
Adovacrius  =  Odoacer  =  Ottocar,  may  have  be- 
longed to  a  Slavonian  captain,  whatever  may  have 
been  the  country  of  the  crew. 





As  the  previous  chapter  has  shewn  that  a 
Saxon  population,  considered  simply  as  such,  and 
without  reference  to  the  particular  fact  of  its  date, 
locality,  and  similar  important  circumstances,  may 
be  in  any  or  no  ethnological  relation  to  the  Angle 
(i.e.,  absolutely  Angle  under  a  Keltic  name,  or, 
on  the  other  hand,  as  little  Angle  as  the  Sla- 
vonians), the  attempt  at  the  reconstruction  of 
the  history  of  all  the  Germanic  conquerors  of 
Britain  during  the  period  of  their  occupation  of 
Germany,  although,  perhaps,  not  impracticable 
as  the  subject  of  a  special  investigation,  and  as 
the  matter  of  an  elaborate  monograph,  must,  in  a 
sketch  like  the  present,  be  limited  to  that  of  the 
unequivocal  and  undoubted  Angles — this  mean- 
ing those  who  are  not  only  Angle  in  reality, 
but  whose  actions  are  described  under  the  name 
of  Angle.  It  is  only  when  this  is  the  case  that  we 
can  be  sure  of  our  men.  A  Saxon,  as  aforesaid, 
may  be  anything,  provided  he  be  but  a  pirate. 
The  greater  part,  too,  of  the  actions  of  the  Saxons 


can  be  shewn  to  have  been  effected  by  the  Old- 
Saxons  rather  than  the  Anglo-Saxons,  and  even 
by  Franks  and  Frisians.  Indeed,  it  is  not  too  much 
to  assert  that,  with  the  exception  of  the  invasion 
of  Britain  and  Sleswick,  there  is  no  recorded  act 
of  any  Saxon  population  which  cannot  be  more 
fairly  attributed  to  some  of  the  other  allied  sec- 
tions of  the  Germanic  stock  than  to  the  Angle. 
That  this  was  the  case  with  the  Saxons  of  the 
Gallic  frontier — the  Saxons  that,  in  the  earlier 
periods  of  their  history,  came  into  collision  with 
Julian,  and,  in  the  later  ones,  with  Charlemagne, 
is  undoubted ;  and,  that  it  was  also  the  case  with 
the  earlier  Saxon  pirates  of  the  coasts  of  Gaul 
and  Britain  is  likely — though  I  do  not  press  this 
point.  What  I  am  considering  now  is  the  un- 
equivocal history  of  the  Angles  of  Germany  under 
their  own  proper  name.  I  have  said  that  it  is 
fragmentary.  It  is  more  than  this.  The  frag- 
ments themselves  are  heterogeneous. 

An  Englishman,  representing  as  he  does  the 
insular  Angles,  and  looking  to  the  part  that  they 
have  played  in  the  world,  may,  with  either  pride 
or  regret,  as  the  case  may  be,  say  that  on  their 
native  soil  of  Germany,  the  Angle  history  is  next 
to  a  non-entity.  It  is  like  that  of  the  Majiars 
of  Asia.  What  our  ancestors  did  at  home  before 
they  became  the  Englishmen  of  Great  Britain 
may  have  been  of  any  amount  of  importance,  or, 

202  BEOWULF. 

of  any  amount  of  insignificance.  They  were  deeds 
without  a  record.  As  to  our  own  collateral  re- 
lations, they  suffered  rather  than  acted.  They 
have,  indeed,  a  history,  but  it  is  a  history  neither 
full  nor  glorious. 

The  poem  of  Beowulf,  an  extract  from  Beda, 
and  a  similar  extract  from  Procopius  constitute 
the  notices  that  continue  the  history — if  so  it 
can  be  called — of  the  Angles  from  the  time  of 
Ptolemy  to  the  beginning  of  the  seventh  cen- 
tury, and  even  these  are  doubtful  in  their  inter- 

Beowulf  is  a  poem  in  the  Anglo-Saxon  lan- 
guage, and,  in  the  alliterative  metre  of  the  Anglo- 
Saxon  compositions  in  general,  of  unknown  date 
and  authorship,  of  upwards  of  six  thousand  lines  ; 
a  poem  which,  although  preserved  in  England,  and 
and  in  a  form  adapted  to  English  hearers  sub- 
sequent to  the  conversion  of  our  island  to  Chris- 
tianity, is  essentially  pagan  and  German — pagan 
in  respect  to  its  superstitions  and  machinery,  and 
German  in  respect  to  the  scene  of  action ;  for  in 
Germany,  and  not  in  England,  are  all  its  actions 
achieved.  This  being  the  case,  it  cannot  but  tell 
us  something  of  the  ancient  Germans ;  and,  as  the 
hero  is  an  Angle,  the  ancient  Germans  of  whom 
this  something  is  told,  are,  more  or  less,  the  Angle 
ancestors  of  the  English  in  their  original  conti- 
nental home. 

BEOWULF.  203 

Much  more  than  this  it  is  unsafe  to  say.  The 
composition  itself  is  a  poem — a  romance — an  epic. 
This  is  against  the  historical  value  of  its  subject- 
matter.  Then,  it  has  taken  its  present  form 
under  the  hands  of  a  Christian.  This  is  against 
its  value  as  cotemporaneous  evidence.  Thirdly, 
it  has  the  character,  to  no  small  extent,  not  only 
of  a  rhapsody,  but  of  a  rhapsody  of  which  the 
elements  are  heterogeneous.  This  is  against  its 
value  as  a  piece  of  Anglicism. 

Nick  and  Grendel — the  old  Nick  of  the  pre- 
sent English,  and  Grendel — probably,  the  Geru- 
thus  of  Saxo  Grammaticus — are  the  chief  super- 
naturals,  demons  of  the  swamp  and  fen.  These 
best  localize  the  legends  in  which  they  appear ; 
for  which  most  parts  of  Hanover  and  the  Cimbric 
Chersonesus  suit  indifferently,  the  Frisian  por- 
tions pre-eminently,  well.  The  more  exalted  my- 
thology of  Woden,  Thor,  and  Balder,  so  generally 
considered  to  have  been  all-pervading  in  Germany 
and  Scandinavia,  finds  no  place  in  Beowulf.  Our 
Devil  and  the  Devil's  Dam  are  rough  analogues 
of  Nick  and  Grendel. 

Heort  is  the  great  palatial  hall  of  Hro^gar, 
the  kingly  personage  of  the  poem,  Beowulf  being 
the  hero.  It  stands  in  some  part  of  the  Cimbric 
Chersonese.  Seeing  in  this,  as  a  word,  only 
another  form  of  the  name  Hartz,  I  also  see  in  it 
a  proof  of  the  rhapsodical  character  of  the  poem, 

204  BEOWULF. 

and    the    heterogeneous    character    of   its 

An  episode,  of  which  Signmnd  is  the  hero, 
gives  us  a  narrative  in  which  we  have,  in  an 
altered  form,  and  an  obscure  outline,  a  portion 
of  the  Nibelungen-Lied  cycle — an  element  from 
the  Rhine. 

Another  gives  us  an  adventure  apparently 
without  a  hero,  or  rather  an  adventure  whose 
hero  has  no  proper  name,  but  only  a  designating 
adjective.  Considering  the  indistinct  shape  which 
all  legends  take  in  Beowulf,  I  cannot  but  think 
that  the  individual  whose  name  stands  in  the 
text  as  Stearc  heart,  and  in  the  translation  as 
Strong-heart,  is  neither  more  nor  less  than  the 
great  Danish  hero  Starcather,  of  a  not  unlike 
legend  in  Saxo. 

Danes,  Geats,  Frisians,  and  Sweas  (Swedes), 
are  the  populations  with  whom  the  Angles  are 
most  brought  in  contact ;  and  the  following  ex- 
tract shews  the  manner  of  their  mention.  The 
parties,  here,  are  Jutish  Danes  and  Frisians. 

1.  "  Hroftgar's  poet  after  the  mead-bench  must  excite  joy  in  the 
hall,  concerning  Finn's  descendants,  when  the  expedition  came 
upon  them  ;  Healfdene's  hero,  Hnaif  the  Scylding,  was  doomed 
to  fall  in  Friesland.  Hildeburh  had  at  least  no  cause  to  praise 
the  fidelity  of  the  Jutes ;  guiltlessly  was  she  deprived  at  the 
war-game  of  her  beloved  sons  and  brothers ;  one  after  another 
they  fell  wounded  with  javelins;  that  was  a  mournful  lady. 
Not  in  vain  did  Hoce's  daughter  mourn  their  death,  after  morn- 

BEOWULF.  205 

ing  came,  when  she  under  the  heaven  might  behold  the  slaugh- 
terer of  her  son,  where  he  before  possessed  the  most  of  earthly 
joys :  war  took  away  all  Finn's  thanes,  except  only  a  few,  so 
that  he  might  not  on  the  .place  of  meeting  gain  any  thing  by 
fighting  against  Hengest,  nor  defend  in  war  his  wretched  rem- 
nant against  the  king's  thane  ;  but  they  offered  him  conditions, 
that  they  would  give  up  to  him  entirely  a  second  palace,  a  hall, 
and  throne,  so  that  they  should  halve  the  power  with  the  sons 
of  the  Jutes,  and  at  the  gifts  of  treasure  every  day  Folcwalda's 
son  should  honour  the  Danes,  the  troops  of  Hengest  should 
serve  them  with  rings,  with  hoarded  treasures  of  solid  gold, 
even  as  much  as  he  would  furnish  the  race  of  Frisians  in  the 
beer-hall.  There  they  confirmed  on  both  sides  a  fast  treaty  of 
peace.  Finn  strongly,  undisputingly,  engaged  by  oath  to  Hen- 
gest, that  he  would  graciously  maintain  the  poor  survivors  ac- 
cording to  the  judgment  of  his  Witan,  that  there  no  man,  either 
by  word  or  work,  should  break  the  peace,  nor  through  hostile 
machinations  ever  recall  the  quarrel,  although  they,  deprived  of 
their  prince,  must  follow  the  slaughterer  of  him  that  gave  them 
rings,  since  they  were  so  compelled  :  if,  then,  any  one  of  the 
Frisians  with  insolent  speech  should  make  allusion  to  the  deadly 
feud,  that  then  the  edge  of  the  sword  should  avenge  it.  The 
oath  was  completed,  and  heaped  up  gold  was  borne  from  the 
hoard  of  the  warlike  Scyldings :  the  best  of  warriors  was  ready 
upon  the  pile ;  at  the  pile  was  easy  to  be  seen  the  mail-shirt 
coloured  with  gore,  the  hog  of  gold,  the  boar  hard  as  iron,  many 
a  noble  crippled  with  wounds  :  some  fell  upon  the  dead.  Then 
at  Hnsef's  pile  Hildeburh  commanded  her  own  son  to  be  in- 
volved in  flames,  to  burn  his  body,  and  to  place  him  on  the  pile, 
wretchedly  iipon  his  shoulder  the  lady  mourned ;  she  lamented 
with  songs  ;  the  warrior  mounted  the  pile ;  the  greatest  of  death- 
fires  whirled;  the  welkin  sounded  before  the  mound;  the  lnail- 
hoods  melted  ;  the  gates  of  the  wounds  burst  open ;  the  loathly 
bite  of  the  body,  when  the  blood  sprang  forth ;  the  flame, 
greediest  of  spirits,  devoured  all  those  whom  there  death  took 
away  :  of  both  the  people  was  the  glory  departed. 

Thence  the  warriors  set  out  to  visit  their  dwellings,  deprived 

206  BEOWULF. 

of  friends,  to  see  Friesland,  their  homes  and  lofty  city ;  Hengest 
yet,  during  the  deadly-coloured  winter,  dwelt  with  Finn,  boldly, 
without  casting  of  lots  he  cultivated  the  land,  although  he  might 
drive  tipon  the  sea  the  ship  with  the  ringed  prow;  the  deep 
boiled  with  storms,  wan  against  the  wind,  winter  locked  the 
wave  with  a  chain  of  ice,  until  the  second  year  came  to  the 
dwellings ;  so  doth  yet,  that  which  eternally,  happily  provideth 
weather  gloriously  bright.  When  the  winter  was  departed,  and 
the  bosom  of  the  earth  was  fair,  the  wanderer  set  out  to  explore, 
the  stranger  from  his  dwellings.  He  thought  the  more  of  ven- 
geance than  of  his  departing  over  the  sea,  if  he  might  bring  to 
pass  a  hostile  meeting,  since  he  inwardly  remembered  the  sons 
of  the  Jutes.  Thus  he  avoided  not  death  when  HunlaTs  de- 
scendant plunged  into  his  bosom  the  flame  of  war,  the  best  of 
swords ;  therefore  were  among  the  Jutes,  known  by  the  edge  of 
the  sword,  what  warriors  bold  of  spirit  Finn  afterwards  fell  in 
with,  savage  sword-slaughter  at  his  own  dwelling ;  since  GuftlaT 
and  Osldf  after  the  sea-journey  mourned  the  sorrow,  the  grim 
onset :  they  avenged  a  part  of  their  loss  ;  nor  might  the  cunning 
of  mood  refrain  in  his  bosom,  when  his  hall  was  surrounded 
with  the  men  of  his  foes.  Finn  also  was  slain.  The  king  amidst 
his  band,  and  the  queen  was  taken ;  the  warriors  of  the  Scyld- 
ings  bore  to  their  ships  all  the  household  wealth  of  the  mighty 
king  which  they  could  find  in  Finn's  dwelling,  the  jewels  and 
carved  gems ;  they  over  the  sea  carried  the  lordly  lady  to  the 
Danes — led  her  to  their  people.  The  lay  was  sung,  the  song  of 
the  glee-man,  the  joke  rose  again,  the  noise  from  the  benches 
grew  loud,  cupbearers  gave  the  wine  from  wondrous  vessels." 

Hengist  appears  here  as  a  Jute.  Another  En- 
glish name,  that  of  Offa,  occurs  in  the  following : 

2.  "  Hseredh's  daughter;  she  was  nevertheless  not  condescend- 
ing, nor  too  liberal  of  gifts,  of  hoarded  treasures,  to  the  people  of 
the  Gedts;  the  violent  queen  of  the  people  exercised  violence  of 
mood,  a  terrible  crime;  no  one  of  the  dear  comrades  dared  to 
venture  upon  that  beast,  save  her  wedded  lord,  who  daily  looked 

BEOWULF.  207 

upon  her  with  his  eyes,  but  she  allotted  to  him  appointed  bonds 
of  slaughter, — twisted  with  hands :  soon  after,  after  the  clutch  of 
hands,  was  the  matter  settled  with  the  knife,  so  that  the  excel- 
lent sword  must  apportion  the  affair,  must  make  known  the  fatal 
evil :  such  is  no  womanly  custom  for  a  lady  to  accomplish,  comely 
though  she  be,  that  the  weaver  of  peace  should  pursue  for  his 
life,  should  follow  with  anger  a  dear  man:  that  indeed  disgusted 
Hemming's  kinsman.  Others  said,  while  drinking  the  ale,  that 
she  had  committed  less  mighty  mischief,  less  crafty  malice,  since 
she  was  first  given,  surrounded  with  gold,  to  the  young  warrior, 
the  noble  beast :  since  by  her  father's  counsel  she  sought,  in  a 
journey  over  the  fallow  flood,  the  palace  of  Offa,  where  she  after- 
wards well  on  her  throne  in  good  repute  living,  enjoyed  the  living 
creations,  and  held  high  love  with  the  prince  of  men,  the  best 
between  two  seas  of  all  mankind,  of  the  whole  race  of  men,  so 
far  as  I  have  heard :  for  Offa  the  spear-bold  warrior  was  far  re- 
nowned both  for  his  liberalities  and  his  wars,  in  wisdom  he  held 
his  native  inheritance,  when  he  the  sad  warrior  sprang  for  the 
assistance  of  men,  he  the  kinsman  of  Hemming,  the  nephew  of 
Garmund,  mighty  in  warfare." 

Beowulf  approaches  his  end ;  the  ceremonies  of 
his  funeral  are  described  in  detail,  the  political 
complications  created  by  his  death  are  alluded 

3.  "Now  is  the  joy-giver  of  the  people  of  the  Westerns,  the  Lord 
of  the  GeaUs,  fast  on  the  death-bed,  he  dwelleth  in  fatal  rest :  by 
him  lieth  his  deadly  foe,  sick  with  seax-wounds;  with  his  sword 
he  could  not  by  any  means  work  a  wound  upon  the  wretch. 
Wiglaf,  Wihstan's  son,  sitteth  over  Bedwulf,  one  warrior  over  the 
other  deprived  of  life  holdeth  sorrowfully  ward  of  good  and 
evil :  now  may  the  people  expect  a  time  of  war,  as  soon  as  the 
fall  of  the  king  becomes  published  among  the  Franks  and  Fri- 
sians :  the  feud  was  established,  fierce  against  the  Hugas,  after 
Hygelac  came  sailing  with  a  fleet  to  Friesland,  where  his  foes 
humbled  him  from  his  war,  boldly  they  went  with  a  superior 

208  BEOWULF. 

force,  so  that  the  warrior  must  bow,  he  fell  in  battle,  nor  did  the 
chieftain  give  treasure  to  his  valiant  comrades :  ever  since  was 
peace  with  the  sea-wicings  denied  us :  nor  do  I  expect  peace  or 
fidelity  from  Sweeden,  but  it  was  widely  known  that  Ongenthedw 
deprived  of  life  Heetheyn  the  Hrethling,  beside  Hrefna-wood 
when  for  their  pride  the  war-Scylfings  first  sought  the  people  of 
the  Gedts.  Soon  did  the  prudent  father  of  Ohthere,  old  and  ter- 
rible, give  him  a  blow  with  the  hand ;  he  deprived  the  sea-king 
of  the  troop  of  maidens,  the  old  man  took  the  old  virgin,  hung 
round  with  gold,  the  mother  of  Onela  and  Ohthere,  and  then 
pursued  the  homicides  until  they  escaped  with  difficulty  into 
Hrefnes-holt,  deprived  of  their  Lord :  then  with  a  mighty  force 
did  he  beset  those  that  the  sword  had  left,  weary  with  their 
wounds :  shame  did  he  often  threaten  to  the  wretched  race,  the 
whole  night  long:  he  said  that  he  in  the  morning  would  take 
them  with  the  edges  of  the  sword,  some  he  would  hang  on  the 
gallowses,  for  his  sport :  comfort  came  again  to  the  sad  of  mood, 
with  early  day,  since  they  perceived  the  horn  and  trumpets  of 
Hygelac,  when  the  good  prince  came  upon  their  track  with  the 
power  of  his  people." 

"  For  him  then  did  the  people  of  the  Gedts  prepare  xipon  the 
earth  a  funeral  pile,  strong,  hung  round  with  helmets,  with  war- 
boards  and  bright  Byrnies,  as  he  had  requested:  weeping  the 
heroes  then  laid  down,  in  the  midst  their  dear  lord;  then  began 
the  warriors  to  awake  upon  the  hill  the  mightiest  of  bale  fires  ; 
the  wood-smoke  rose  aloft,  dark  from  the  foe  of  wood ;  noisily 
it  went,  mingled  with  weeping:  the  mixture  of  the  wind  lay  on 
till  it  had  broken  the  bonehouse,  hot  in  his  breast :  sad  in  mind, 
sorry  of  mood  they  moaned  the  death  of  their  lord: — The  people 
of  the  Westerns  wrought  then  a  mound  over  the  sea,  it  was  high 
and  broad,  easy  to  behold  by  the  sailors  over  the  waves,  and  dur- 
ing ten  days  they  built  up  the  beacon  of  the  war-renowned,  the 
mightiest  of  fires;  they  surrounded  it  with  a  wall,  in  the  most 
honourable  manner  that  wise  men  could  devise  it :  they  put  into 
the  mound  rings  and  bright  gems, — all  such  ornaments  as  the 
fierce-minded  men  had  before  taken  from  the  hoard ;  they  suf- 
fered the  earth  to  hold  the  treasure  of  warriors,  gold  on  the 

BEOWULF.  209 

the  sand,  there  it  yet  remaineth  as  useless  to  men  as  it  was  of  old. 
Then  round  the  mound  rode  a  troop  of  beasts  of  war,  of  nobles, 
twelve  in  all:  they  would  speak  about  the  king,  they  would  call 
him  to  mind,  they  would  relate  the  song  of  words,  they  would 
themselves  speak :  they  praised  his  valour,  and  his  deeds  of  bra- 
very they  judged  with  praise,  even  as  it  is  fitting  that  a  man 
should  extol  his  friendly  Lord,  should  love  him  in  his  soul,  when 
he  must  depart  from  the  body  to  become  valueless.  Thus  the 
people  of  the  Gedts,  his  domestic  comrades,  mourned  their  dear 
Lord;  they  said  that  he  was  of  the  kings  of  the  world,  the  mild- 
est and  gentlest  of  men,  the  most  gracious  to  his  people,  and  the 
most  jealous  of  glory." 

That  Norse,  Frisian,  Angle,  and  other  Germanic 
elements  are  combined  in  this  poem  is  certain; 
and,  looking  to  the  extent  to  which  Beowulf,  the 
hero,  besides  other  points  of  indistinctness  in  re- 
spect to  his  personality,  is  Geat  as  well  as  Angle, 
I  cannot  but  suspect  an  incorporation  of  some  Sla- 
vonic and  Lithuanic  ones  as  well.  Finn,  too,  as 
a  hero,  not  of  the  Laps  and  Finlanders  (to  whom 
he  would  be  the  proper  eponymus),  but  of  the 
Frisians,  creates  a  further  complication. 

Hro^gar,  too,  the  Dane  or  Jute,  has  a  name 
inconveniently  unlike  that  of  the  more  historical 
Radiger  who  will  soon  come  under  notice. 

The  chief  fact  we  get  from  Beowulf  is,  as  is  ge- 
nerally the  case  with  early  poems,  one  in  the  his- 
tory of  Fiction ;  and,  to  guard  against  disparaging- 
such  facts  as  these,  let  us  remember  that  the  his- 
tory of  Fiction  is  the  history  of  the  Commerce  of 


Now  Beowulf  tells  us  that,  at  the  time  of  its 
composition,  at  latest,  and,  probably,  much  ear- 
lier, there  was  a  certain  interchange  of  legend 
or  history  between  the  Danes,  Swedes,  Lom- 
bards, Franks,  Angles,  Frisians,  and  Geats.  We 
may  say,  then,  that  the  Angli  had  an  Heroic 

In  respect  to  their  historic  epoch,  a  well-known 
notice  in  Beda,  freely  adopted  by  most  of  his 
after-comers,  deduces  the  Angles  from  that  part 
of  Germany  which  he  calls  Angulus,  between  the 
provinces  of  the  Jutes  and  Saxons,  and  which  up 
to  his  own  time  remained  a  waste — patria  quae 
Angulus  dicitur,  et  ab  eo  tempore  usque  hodie 
desertus  inter  provincias  Jutarum  et  Saxonum 

The  Saxon  Chronicle  simply  translates  this. 
Alfred  strengthens  it,  writing  that  there  "the 
English  dwelt  before  they  came  hither." — i.  e.,  to 

Ethel weard  speaks  of  "  Anglia  vetus,  sita  inter 
Saxones  et  Giotos,  habens  oppidum  capitale,  quod 
sermone  Saxonico  Sleswic  nuncupatur,  seeundu 
vero  Danos,  Hathaby." 

A  well-known  locality  in  the  Duchy  of  SI 
wick  supplies  the  commentary  on  these  texts, 
triangular  block  of  land,  about  the  size  of  the 
county  of  Middlesex,  is  bounded  on  two  of  its 
sides  by  the  Slie  and  the  Firth  of  Flensburg,  and 


ANGLEN.  211 

on  tlie  third  by  the  road  from  that  town  to  Sles- 

Many  writers  think  that  the  Angles  should  be 
placed  here ;  and,  thinking  this,  maintain  that  no 
population  except  that  of  the  Angles  or  some 
closely  allied  tribe  has  a  claim  to  be  considered 
as  the  early  occupants  of  Holstein  and  Sleswick 
They  overlook,  however,  the  important  fact  that 
Ptolemy,  who  places  the  Angili  in  a  locality  far 
south  of  the  parts  in  question,  places,  in  those 
parts,  populations  which  he  separates  from  his 
Angili.  They  also  overlook  the  still  more  im- 
portant fact  that  the  only  populations  earlier  than 
the  present  of  which  definite  traces  can  be  disco- 
vered in  either  Holstein  or  Sleswick,  are  the  Fri- 
sians and  the  Slavonians — the  Frisians  on  the 
west,  and  the  Slavonians  on  the  east. 

In  another  point  of  view  this  district  is  import- 
ant, although  the  line  of  criticism  upon  which  it 
has  its  bearing  is  gradually  becoming  obsolete. 
When  the  direct  influence  of  the  Danes  and  Nor- 
wegians upon  the  language  of  Britain  was  less 
recognised  than  it  is  now,  it  was  by  no  means 
uncommon  to  explain  such  Scandinavian  words 
as  occurred  by  the  assumption  that  they  were 
Angle  as  opposed  to  Saxon,  the  Angle  being  the 
most  Danish  of  all  the  proper  German  dialects — 
transitional,  perhaps,  to  the  Teutonic  and  Scandi- 
navian divisions  of  the  so-called  Gothic  stock. 


This  was  a  line  of  criticism  difficult  to  refute ; 
since  the  advocate  of  the  Angle  origin  of  Danish 
words  might  fairly  argue  that  it  was  not  enough 
to  shew  that  a  word  was  Scandinavian.  It  must 
also  be  shewn  to  have  been  non-existent  in  the 
North-German  dialects.  This  brought  in  the  pro- 
verbial difficulty  of  proving  a  negative  assertion. 
Hence,  the  district  of  Anglen  and  Beda's  state- 
ment concerning  it  are  important. 

Now,  at  the  present  moment,  this  district  of 
Anglen  is  just  as  Angle  or  English  as  the  rest  of 
Germany — that  is,  next  to  not  at  all.  It  is  Low 
German,  tinctured  with  Danish ;  having  once 
been  more  Danish  still,  as  is  shewn  by  the 
geographical  names  ending  in  -by,  -skov,  an< 

The  only  piece  of  truly  cotemporary  eviden< 
in  Beda  is  the  statement  of  its  being  a  waste  whei 
he  wrote,  and  this  is  better  explained  by  supposing 
it  to  have  been  a  March,  or  Debateable  Land,  b( 
tween  the  Germanic  and  Danish  occupants  of  Sles- 
wick,  than  by  the  notion  that  it  was  left  empfr 
by  the  exodus  of  its  occupants  to  Great  Britain. 
The  deduction  of  the  Angli  from  an  improbably 
small  area,  on  the  wrong  side  of  the  Peninsula, 
must  be  looked  upon  as  an  inference  under  the 
garb  of  a  tradition.  Such  I  believe  it  to  have 
been;  freely,  however,  admitted  that  if  Anglen 
poured  forth  upon  England  even  half  the  Angles 

ANGLEN.  213 

that  England  contained,  it  was  likely  enough  to 
have  been  most  effectually  emptied. 

At  one  time  I  went  further  than  the  mere  de- 
nial of  Anglen  being  the  original  home  of  the 
Angles  in  the  exclusive  manner  that  Beda  so  evi- 
dently considers  it,  and  looked  upon  the  word  as 
a  mere  translation  of  the  word  Angulus — since 
the  area  in  question  is  certainly  one  of  the  nooks 
and  corners  of  the  Peninsula.  But  the  fact  of 
there  being  one  or  two  small  outlying  districts, 
retaining  (I  believe)  certain  privileges,  beyond 
the  area  bounded  by  the  Slie  the  Firth  of  Flens- 
burg  and  the  road  to  Sleswick,  in  the  parts  about 
Leek  and  Bredsted,  and  on  the  North-Frisian 
frontier,  has  modified  this  view,  and  inclined  me 
to  the  notion  that  the  Anglen  districts  of  Sles- 
wick were  really  Angle — though  Angle  only  in  the 
way  that  Britain  was  Angle,  i.  e.,  from  the  effect 
of  an  invasion  from  Hanover.  If  so,  although  we 
fail  in  finding  in  Sleswick  the  mother-country  of 
the  English,  we  get  a  detail  in  the  history  of  the 
Angles  of  Germany  instead — this  being  that  cer- 
tain Angles,  probably  at  the  time  they  were 
reducing  Britain,  may  have  turned  their  faces 
northwards,  and  effected  settlements  in  certain 
parts  of  Sleswick,  having,  previously,  reached 
the  Trave.  Hence  they  achieved  a  small  mari- 
time conquest  on  the  coast  of  the  Baltic,  just  as 
they  effected  certain  large  ones  on  the  shores  of 

214  THE  VAKNI  OF 

Britain.  Why  do  I  suppose  this  to  have  been  by 
sea?  Because,  when  true  history  begins,  what- 
ever the  men  of  Anglen  in  Sleswick  may  have 
been,  the  intermediate  parts  of  Holstein  are 
Wagrian.  The  settlement,  then,  in  Anglen,  is 
just  a  detail  in  the  naval  history  of  the  Angles, 
during  the  period  of  their  rise  and  progress — that 
is,  if  it  be  anything  Angle  at  all. 

A  notice  of  Procopius  now  finds  place.  An 
Angle  princess  betrothed  to  Radiger,  prince  of 
the  Varni,  is  deserted  by  her  promised  husband 
for  Theodechild,  his  father's  widow,  and  avenges 
herself  by  sailing  for  the  mouth  of  the  Rhine 
with  a  large  fleet,  conquering  her  undervalue^ 
forgiving  him  as  women  are  likely,  and  dismiss- 
ing her  rival,  as  they  are  sure  to  do  in  such  cases. 
To  deny  "  all  historical  foundation  to  this  tale/' 
writes  Mr.  Kemble,*  "would  perhaps  be  carrying 
scepticism  to  an  unreasonable  extent.  Yet  the  most 
superficial  examination  proves  that  in  all  its  de- 
tails, at  least,  it  is  devoid  of  accuracy.  The  period 
during  which  the  events  described  must  be  placed, 
is  between  the  years  534  and  547  ;  and  it  is  very 
certain  that  the  Yarni  were  not  settled  at  that 
time  where  Procopius  has  placed  them  ;  on  that 
locality  we  can  only  look  for  Saxons.  It  is  hardly 
necessary  to  say  that  a  fleet  of  four  hundred  ships 
and  an  army  of  one  hundred  thousand  Angles, 

*  Saxons  in  England,  i.  24. 

peocopius.  215 

led  by  a  woman,  are  not  data  upon  which  we 
could  implicitly  rely  in  calculating  either  the 
political  or  military  power  of  any  English  prin- 
cipality at  the  commencement  of  the  sixth  cen- 
tury, or  that  ships  capable  of  carrying  two  hun- 
dred-and-fifty  men  each,  had  hardly  been  launched 
at  that  time  from  any  port  in  England.  Still  I 
am  not  altogether  disposed  to  deny  the  possibility 
of  predatory  expeditions  from  the  settled  parts 
of  the  island  adjoining  the  eastern  coasts/' 

From  this  criticism  I  only  differ  in  thinking 
that,  instead  of  Procopius  having  mistaken  Saxons 
for  Yarni,  he  has  mistaken  the  Elbe  for  the 

It  is  a  point  of  some  uncertainty,  but  of  no 
great  importance  to  ascertain  whether  the  Angle 
subjects  of  the  insulted  but  forgiveful  princess 
were  from  Britain  or  from  Hanover — islanders 
already  in  a  state  of  reaction  against  their  con- 
tinental fatherland,  or  simply  Angles  of  the  Elbe. 
The  accounts  of  Procopius  respecting  both  coun- 
tries are  eminently  obscure  and  contradictory. 
It  is  only  certain  that  as  early  as  the  ninth 
century  there  were  continental  writers  who  at- 
tributed to  the  Germans  of  Britain  movements 
from  the  Island  to  the  Continent  as  far  back  from 
their  own  time  as  the  fifth  century.  Nay,  ]ater 
still,  there  were  some  historians  who  wholly 
reversed   the   order  of  Anglo-Saxon   migration, 



and  deduced  the  true  Fatherland  Germans  from 

And  now  the  history  of  the  rise  and  progress 
of  the  Angles  on  the  soil  of  Germany  ends.  Even 
if  it  can  be  increased  there  is  but  modicum  of  in- 
formation. Yet  we  could  scarcely  expect  more. 
On  the  contrary,  why  should  not  the  Angles 
have  shared  the  total  obscurity  of  the  Nuithones, 
Sigulones,  and  others  ?  What  population  amongst 
those  with  which  they  came  in  contact  could 
have  recorded  their  alliances,  their  victories,  or 
their  defeats?  Not  the  Frisians,  who  were  un- 
lettered as  long  as  they  were  Pagan,  and  Pagan 
until  the  tenth  century.  Not  the  Slavonians, 
whose  spiritual  and  intellectual  darkness  was 
equal.  Not  the  Romans,  for  reasons  already 
given.  There  only  remained  the  Gauls  and  Bri- 
tons. But,  unfortunately,  in  the  eyes  of  the 
Gauls  and  Britons,  although  all  Angles  were 
Saxons,  all  Saxons  were  not  Angles — so  that  the 
proportion  of  proper  Angle  history  which  we  have 
in  the  Gallic  and  British  accounts  of  the  Saxons 
cannot  be  determined. 

The  history  of  the  Saxons  of  the  continent  has 
been  stated  to  have  been  the  history  of  the  Old- 
Saxons.  And  up  to  the  time  of  Beda,  and  about 
half  a  century  later,  such  was  the  case.  Hence, 
the  rule  is  as  follows — where  we  hear  of  Saxon 
actions  by  sea,  the  actors  may  be  Old-Saxons, 


Angles,  Frisians,  Scandinavians,  or  Slavonians, 
and  where  we  hear  of  actions  on  the  Terra  Firma 
of  Germany,  and  also  in  the  times  anterior  to  B.  c. 
800,  the  actors  are  Old-Saxons  rather  than  Anglo- 
Saxons.  In  this  case,  except  in  Britain,  we  have 
little  or  no  Angle  history  under  the  name  of 
Saxon ;  and,  as  there  is  equally  little  under  the 
name  of  Angle,  we  have,  as  has  been  already  seen, 
next  to  no  Angle  history  at  all — i.  e.}  in  Germany. 
But  with  the  reign  of  Charlemagne  the  criti- 
cism changes.  The  Saxon  history,  even  in  Ger- 
many, becomes  Anglo-Saxon,  as  well  as  Old- 
Saxon,  and  it  may  be  that  the  events  are  pretty 
equally  distributed  between  the  two  divisions. 
The  reason  is  clear.  The  arms  of  Southern  and 
Middle  Europe  have  penetrated  to  the  parts  be- 
yond the  Weser,  and  it  only  requires  the  Angles 
to  be  described  under  their  own  proper  name  (in- 
stead of  that  of  Saxon)  for  us  to  have  the  mate- 
rials of  an  average  history.  It  is  a  sickening  and 
revolting  history,  and  a  history  that  few  nations 
but  the  English  can  afford.  Throughout  the 
whole  length  and  breadth  of  Germany  there  is 
not  one  village,  hamlet,  or  family  which  can  shew 
definite  signs  of  descent  from  the  continental  an- 
cestors of  the  Angles  of  England.  There  is  not  a 
man,  woman,  or  child  who  can  say,  /  have  pure 
Angle  blood  in  my  veins.  In  no  nook  or  corner 
can  dialect  or  sub- dialect  of  the  most  provincial 


form  of  the  German  speech  be  found  which  shall 
have  a  similar  pedigree  with  the  English.  The 
Angles  of  the  Continent  are  either  exterminated 
or  undistinguishably  mixed  up  with  the  other 
Germans  in  proportions  more  or  less  large,  and 
in  combinations  more  or  less  heterogeneous.  And 
the  history  of  the  Conquest  and  Conversion  of  the 
Saxons  by  Charlemagne  is  the  history  of  this  ex- 
tinction. It  is  this  that  makes  it  so  impossible 
to  argue  backwards  from  the  present  state  of  the 
Angles  of  Germany  to  an  earlier  one,  and  so  to 
reconstruct  their  history.  They  have  no  present 
state.  Neither  have  the  0 ^-Saxons — their  next 
of  kin.  Of  the  Frisians  only,  the  next  nearest, 
there  are  still  fragments ;  for,  although  the  enemy 
of  the  Old-Saxons  and  the  Anglo-Saxons  was  the 
enemy  of  the  Frisians  also,  he  was  not  equally 
their  exterminator.  They  may  or  may  not  have 
been  braver  than  the  Angles  and  Old-Saxons. 
They  certainly  occupied  a  more  impracticable 
country.  To  this  period — the  period  of  their  re- 
duction— the  Angli  and  Werini  of  Thuringia  are 
attributed.  They  may,  indeed,  have  got  there  as 
they  did  to  Sleswick,  by  conquest,  and  at  an  ear- 
lier period.  If  so,  there  was  an  alliance.  They 
were,  however,  more  probably  transplanted. 




Of  the  British  Isles  at  the  time  of  the  Angle 
invasion  we  have  effected  a  sketch,  rather  than 
a  picture  ;  a  sketch  indistinct  in  outline,  and  with 
several  of  its  details  almost  invisible.  Never- 
theless, it  is  a  sketch  in  which  some  of  the  points 
are  pretty  clear.  Germans  of  one  or  more  varie- 
ties, Kelts  either  Gaelic  or  British,  Picts  who  may 
be  anything,  Romans  and  Roman  Legionaries  are 
the  chief  elements.  These  we  have  had  to  dis- 
tribute in  Time  and  Space  as  we  best  could.  We 
have  also  had,  as  we  best  could,  to  investigate 
their  relations  to  each  other. 

Let  us  look  back  upon  what  has  been  attempt- 
ed in  this  respect. 

And  first  in  respect  to  our  data.  The  state- 
ments of  the  early  authors,  and  the  value  which 
is  due  to  them,  have  formed  the  subject  of  a  se- 
parate chapter  ;*  and  it  is  hoped,  that,  without 
any  undue  disparagement,  they  have  been  shewn 

*  Chapter  vii. 

220  ORIGIN  OF 

to  be  valid  only  when  they  are  opposed  to  a  very 
small  amount  of  either  conflicting  facts  or  a 
priori  improbabilities.  I  also  lay  but  little 
stress  upon  them  when  they  assert  a  negative, 
and  equally  little  when  their  apparent  testi- 
mony may  be  reduced  to  an  inference.  Their  ab- 
solute testimony,  however,  must  be  taken  as  we 
find  it. 

Partly  for  the  sake  of  recapitulation,  and  part- 
ly with  the  view  to  give  a  further  investigation 
to  certain  questions  which  could  not  well  be  con- 
sidered until  certain  preliminary  facts  had  been 
laid  before  the  reader,  the  more  important  in- 
ferences are  put  in  form  of  the  following  pro- 
positions, to  some  of  which  a  commentary  is 


The  British  Isles  were  peopled  from  the  Keltic 
portion  of  the  continent  originally  and  exclu- 

This  implies  an  objection  to  the  doctrine  of 
any  pre-keltic  population,  and  to  the  inferences 
deduced  from  certain  real  or  supposed  peculiari- 
ties in  the  shape  of  the  skulls  from  the  tumuli 
of  the  Stone  period.    (See  pp.  26 — 27.) 


The  Gaels  cannot  be  derived  from  the  Britons, 


nor  the  Britons  from  the  Gaels  ;  on  the  contrary, 
each  branch  must  have  been  developed  from  some 
common  stock. 

This  rests  upon  the  differences  between  the 
British  and  Gaelic  languages.      (See  Chapter  V.) 


Of  this  common  stock  the  British  branch,  at 
least,  must  have  been  developed  on  the  continent. 
(See  Chapter  VI) 

This,  of  course,  assumes  that  the  Galli  of  Gaul 
were  not  derived  from  Britain;  a  view  which 
has  never  been  adopted,  and  which  probably  has 
so  little  to  recommend  it  as  to  make  its  investi- 
gation superfluous. 

The  British  language  of  Britain  and  the  Gaelic 
of  Gaul  would  not  have  been  so  much  alike  as 
they  were  had  they  developed  themselves  sepa- 
rately, each  after  their  own  fashion. 

This  last  proposition  depends,  however,  to  a 
great  extent,  upon  the  following,  viz.,  that — 


The  similarity  betiveen  the  ancient  language 
of  Gaul  and  the  ancient  language  of  Britain  is 
measured  by  that  between  the  present  Welsh  and 
the  A  rmorican  of  Brittany. 

The  arguments  of  pp.  86 — 87,  resting  as  they 
do  upon  the  close  relationship  between  the  an- 


cient  language  of  Gaul*  and  the  British — would 
be  materially  impaired  by  any  thing  which  sub- 
tracted from  the  evidence  in  favour  of  that  rela- 

Now  the  present  Welsh  and  the  present  Ar- 
morican  of  Britain  are  languages  that  are  very 
nearly  mutually  intelligible. 

And  as  the  Armorican  represents  the  ancient 
Gallic,  and  the  Welsh  the  ancient  British,  the  affi- 
nity between  the  two  old  tongues  must  have 
been,  at  least,  equal  to  that  between  the  two  new 

But  what  if  the  Armorican  do  not  represent 
the  ancient  Gallic,  but  be  merely  so  much  Welsh 
or  Cornish  transferred  to  Britanny  in  the  fifth 
century?  In  such  a  case  the  argument  is  mate- 
rially weakened. 

Now  there  is  a  certain  amount  of  statements 
to  this  very  effect,  viz.,  to  the  Welsh  origin  of  the 
Armorican.     Let  them  be  examined. 

Gildas,  who  mentions  the  rebellion  of  Maximus, 
says  nothing  of  any  British  migration  to  Brit- 

Nennius  gives  us  an  account  beset  with  inac- 
curacies, being  to  the  effect  that  Maximus  the 

*  Here  is  one  out  of  the  thousand-and-one  inconveniences  aris- 
ing from  our  present  philological  nomenclature.  I  am  contrasting 
two  languages  with  each  other  :  yet  their  names  are  as  like  as 
Gallic  and  Gaelic. 


seventh  imperator  in  Britain,  left  the  island  with 
all  the  British  soldiers  it  contained,  killed  Gratian 
King  of  Rome,  and  held  rule  over  all  Europe ; 
that  he  would  not  dismiss  the  soldiers  who  went 
with  him,  but  gave  them  lands  in  Armorica  or 
the  country  over-sea  (Ar-mor-)  ;  that,  then  and 
there,  these  soldiers  of  Maximus  slaughtered  all 
the  males,  married  the  females,  and  cut  out  their 
tongues  lest  the  children  should  learn  the  lan- 
guage of  their  parents  instead  of  that  of  their 
conquerors.  For  this  reason  we  call  them  Lete- 
wicion,  or,  half- silent  (semi-tacentes).  Thus  was 
Brittany  peopled,  and  Britain  emptied;  so  that 
strangers  took  possession  of  it. 

Beda's  account  is  equally  unsatisfactory.  The 
Britons  were  the  first  who  came  into  the  island, 
and  they  came  from  Armorica.  It  was  from  Ar- 
morica that  they  came,  it  was  in  the  south  of 
England  that  they  landed,  and  it  was  they  who 
gave  the  name  to  the  island. 

Now  there  is  an  error  somewhere — if  not  in 
Beda,  in  Nennius ;  if  not  in  Nennius,  in  Beda. 

Traditions  are  uniform,  inferences  vary;  and 
when  Nennius  brings  his  Armoricans  from  Corn- 
wall, and  Beda  his  Cornishmen  from  Armorica, 
we  have  a  presumption  against  a  tradition  being 
the  basis  of  their  statements.  The  real  basis  was 
the  existence  of  the  British  language  on  both 
sides  of  the  Channel,  a  fact  which  being  differ- 



ently  interpreted  by  the  different  writers  gave  us 
two  separate  and  contradictory  inferences — each 
legitimate,  and  each  (for  want  of  further  data) 

The  present  similarity,  then,  between  the  Welsh 
and  Armorican  remains  unaffected  by  the  state- 
ments of  Beda  and  Nennius ;  and  the  common- 
sense  inference  as  to  the  latter  language  repre- 
senting the  ancient  Gallic  takes  its  course. 

The  Belgce  were  Kelts  of  the  British  branch. 

This  implies  an  objection  to  all  the  arguments 
in  favour  of  a  Germanic  population  occupant  of 
Britain  anterior  to  the  Christian  era,  which  are 
based  on  the  name  Belgw.     (See  pp.  61 — 75.) 


The  Gaelic  branch  of  the  Keltic  stock  may  have 
been  developed  in  either  the  British  Isles  or  on 
the  continent. — (Chapter  V.) 

The  following  list  of  words  in  Professor  New- 
man's Regal  Rome,  shewing  that  a  remarkable 
class  of  words  in  Latin  were  Keltic  rather  than 
native  and  Gaelic  rather  than  Welsh,  and  which 
was  unpublished  when  the  fifth  chapter  was 
written,  favours  the  doctrine  of  the  Gaels  having 
been  continental  as  well  as  insular  to  an  extent 
for  which  I  was  previously  unprepared : — 

THE  GAELS.  225 


Arms arma arm. 

Weapon telum tailm. 

Helmet galea galia. 

Shield scutum sgiath. 

Arroio sagitta saigkead. 

Coat  of  Mail .  .  lorica liureach. 

Spoils spolia spuill. 

Necklace   ....  monile fail-muineil. 

Point cuspis cusp. 

Spear quiris  * coir. 

It  also  favours  Llmyd's  hypothesis  rather  than 
the  Hibernian.     (See  pp.  88-89.) 


The  earliest  ethnology  of  Scotland  was  that  the 
earliest  Britons,  i.  e.,  either  British  as  opposed  to 
Gaelic,  or  Gaelic  which,  subsequently,  became  as 
British  as  South  Britain  itself. 

This  means  that  the  present  Gaels  were  not 
aboriginal  to  the  Scotch  Highlands,  except  in 
the  sense  that  they  were  aboriginal  to  Kent  or 
Wales.     (See  pp.  88-89.) 


The  present  Scotch  Gaels  are  of  Irish  origin. 

These  two  propositions  go  together ;  involving 
an  objection  to  the  so-called  "Caledonian  hy- 
pothesis "  (p.  89),  with  which  they  are  incompa- 
tible.     Nevertheless,  anything   confirmatory  of 

*  Sabine — Sive  quod  hasta  quiris  priscis  est  dicta  Sabinis. — Ovid. 



that  hypothesis  would,  pro  tanto,  invalidate  the 

The  chief  facts  upon  which  this  doctrine  rest 
are — 

1st.  The  absence  of  the  term  sliabh,  the  cur- 
rent Gaelic  form  for  mountain,  throughout  Scot- 
land— even  in  the  Gaelic  parts  of  it. 

2nd.  The  great  extent  to  which  the  forms  in 
aber  are  found  northwards  (see  p.  81).  These 
occur  so  far  beyond  the  Pict  area,  that,  al- 
though so  good  a  writer  as  Mr.  Kemble  has 
allowed  himself  to  make  it  commensurate  with 
the  British,  and  although  his  list  of  compounds 
of  aber  has  been  placed  in  the  present  writer's 
chapter  on  the  Picts,  as  an  illustration  of  a  cer- 
tain line  of  criticism,  the  inference  that  they  were 
Britons  in  North-Briton  other  than  Pict  is  highly 
probable.  Hence  in  the  northern  parts,  at  least, 
the  word  aber  was  used  not  because  the  country 
was  Pict,  but  because  it  was  British. 

It  is  well  known  that  the  doctrine  is,  in  respect 
to  its  results,  the  current  one ;  from  which  it  dif- 
fers in  resting  on  ethnological  inference,  rather 
than  on  a  piece  of  history. 

The  historical  account  is  to  the  effect,  that  the 
Scots  of  Scotland  were  originally  Irish,  so  that 
Ireland  was  the  true  and  proper  Scotland.  11 
was  Ireland  where  the  Scots  dwelt  when  the 
Picts  came   from  Scythia,    Ireland  whence   the 


Picts  took  their  Scottish  wives ;  and,  finally, 
Ireland  that  gave  its  present  Gaelic  population 
to  North  Britain.  Under  a  leader  named  Reuda 
the  Scots  of  Ireland  sailed  across  the  Irish  Sea, 
penetrated  far  into  the  Firth  of  Clyde,  settled 
themselves  to  the  north  of  the  Picts,  drove  that 
nation  southwards,  multiplied  their  kind  in  the 
Highlands,  and  called  themselves  Dalriads  (Dal- 
reudini),  since  Reuda  was  the  name  of  their 
chief,  and  daal  meant  part  The  point  where  the 
Scots  landed  was  just  where  the  British  and  Pict 
areas  joined,  the  parts  about  Alcluith  or  Dum- 
barton— "procedente  autem  tempore,  Britannia 
post  Brittones  et  Pictos,  tertiam  Scottorum  natio- 
nem  in  Pictorum  parte  recepit,  qui  duce  Reuda 
de  Hibernia  progressi  vel  amicitia  vel  ferro  sibi- 
met  inter  eos  sedes  quas  hactenus  habent,  vindica- 
runt ;  a  quo  videlicet  duce  usque  hodie  dalreudini 
vocantur,  nam  eorum  lingua  'daal'  partem  signi- 
ficat.'  —  Hist.  Eccl.  i.  1. 

To  agree  with  Beda  in  making  the  Gaels  of 
Scotland  intrusive,  but  to  demur  to  his  evidence, 
is,  apparently,  to  substitute  a  bad  reason  for 
good  one  without  affecting  the  conclusion,  i.e., 
gratuitously.  We  shall  soon  see  how  far  this  is 
the  case. 

At  present,  I  remark  that  all  Scotland  may 
have  been  British  without  having  been  wholly 
Pict ;  and  that — 

228  THE  PICTS. 

The  parts  of  Scotland  which  were  not  Gaelic  at 
the  beginning  of  the  Historical  period  and  have 
not  been  so  since,  never  were.* 


The  P  ids  may  or  may  not  have  been  the  British 
Kelts  of  Scotland :  this  depending  upon  the  ex- 
tent to  which  the  gloss  penn  fahel  is  a  word 
belonging  to  the  Pict  tongue,  or  only  a  word  be- 
longing to  a  language  spoken  within  the  Pict 

Why  should  it  not  be  Pict  ?  "Why  disturb  the 
inference  ?  disturb  the  inference  by  suggesting 
that  they  may  be  Pict  only  as  man  or  woman 
are  Welsh,  i.  e.,  words  other  than  Pict,  but  words 
used  in  a  Pict  area  just  as  English  is  spoken  in 
the  Welsh  town  of  Swansea  ?  I  admit  that,  if 
we  look  only  to  the  plain  and  straight-forward 
meaning  of  Beda,  this  refinement  is  unnecessary. 
There  are,  however,  certain  complications. 

*  This  contravenes  an  opinion  to  which  I  have  elsewhei 
committed  myself  (Man  and  his  Migrations,  pp.  161-162).  Ac 
ing  upon  the  doctrine  that  Ireland  must  be  considered  to  ha-\ 
been  peopled  from  the  nearest  part  of  the  nearest  land  of  a  moi 
continental  character  than  itself,  unless  reason  could  be  shewn 
to  the  contrary,  I  ignored  the  statement  of  Beda  altogether,  and 
peopled  Ireland  from  the  parts  about  the  Mull  of  Cantyre.  Tl 
present  change  of  opinion  has  arisen  out  of  no  change  in  tl 
valuation  of  Beda's  statement.  The  extent  to  which  the  fori 
in  aber  are  found  in  Scotland,  and  the  extent  to  which  the  nan 
sliabh  (with  a  few  others;  is  wanting,  are  the  real  reasons. 


Baal=part,  is  suspiciously  like  the  German 
theil,  the  English  deal,  the  Anglo-Saxon  dcel,  the 
Norse  del,  dal ;  indeed,  it  is  a  wonder  that  Beda 
took  it  for  a  foreign  word.  Hence,  gloss  for  gloss, 
it  is  nearly  as  good  evidence  for  the  Picts  being 
German  or  Norse  as  penn  fahel  is  for  their  being 
Briton.  I  say  nearly,  because  it  is  expressly 
stated  to  have  been  Scotch.  But  this  it  is  not. 
What,  then,  is  our  next  best  explanation?  To 
suppose  it  to  have  been  a  word  used  by  a  popu- 
lation other  than  Scotch,  but  on  the  Scotch  fron- 
tier.    Now  this  population  was  Pict. 


The  Dalriad  Conquest  may  or  may  not  have 
been  real.  Being  real,  it  may  or  may  not  have 
given  origin  to  the  Gaelic  population  of  Scot- 

This  means  that  Beda's  evidence,  being  excep- 
tionable, may  be  wholly  false — except  so  far  as  it 
is  an  inference  from  the  existence  of  Gaels  in  both 
Ireland  and  the  Western  Highlands. 

Even  if  true  as  to  the  fact,  its  ethnological  im- 
portance may  be  over-valued,  since  the  investi- 
gation of  the  origin  of  the  Scotch  Gaels  inquires, 
not  whether  any  Irish  Scots  ever  appropriated 
any  part  of  Scotland,  but  whether  such  an  appro- 
priation were  the  one  which  accounts  for  the 
Gaelic  population  of  North  Britain.     This  is  the 



difference  between  a  conquest  and  the  conquest- 
a  difference  too  often  overlooked. 

I  should  not  like  to  say  that  the  Picts  were 
not  Scandinavians,  a  point  which  will  be  treated 
more  fully  in  the  thirteenth  chapter.     Hence — 


Scandinavian  settlements  may  have  taken 
place  as  early  as  the  earliest  notices  of  the  Picts. 

In  this  case  the  lines  would  be — Norway,  North 
Scotland,  the  Hebrides,  Ireland  and  Galloway. 


Germanic  elements  existed  in  Britain  in  the 
reign  of  Diocletian. 

The  notices  of  the  Franks  in  Kent  and  Middle- 
sex suggest  this.     (See  p.  96.) 


The  Littus  Saxonicum  must  have  been  ravaged 
by  Germans  as  early  as  the  reign  of  Honorius. 

This  must  be  admitted  even  if  we  construe 
Saxonicum  as  ravaged  by  Saxons,  rather  than 
occupied  by  Saxons — a  construction  which  is  so 
little  natural,  that  I  doubt  whether  it  would  ever 
have  been  resorted  to  if  the  language  of  Gildas 
had  not  been  supposed  to  preclude  the  notion  of 
any  Saxon  invasion  anterior  to  A.D.  449.  We 
have  seen,  however,  how  little  that  writer  was  in 

BRITAIN.  231 

the  position  to  make  a  negative  statement,  i.  e.,  to 
state,  not  only  that  Hengest  and  Horsa  came 
over  in  a  given  year,  but  that  none  of  their 
countrymen  ever  did  so  in  a  previous  one. 


No  distinction  need  be  drawn  between  the 
Angles  and  the  Saxons  of  Great  Britain  on  the 
strength  of  the  difference  of  name. 

This,  however,  by  no  means  implies  that  they 
are  to  be  identified.  It  merely  means  that  the 
name  goes  for  but  little  ;  and  that  the  difference 
of  origin  between  the  different  portions  of  the 
Germanic  population  of  Britain  is  to  be  deter- 
mined by  the  facts  of  each  particular  case. 




IN  -ING. 

The  present  chapter  will  examine  the  extent 
to  which  certain  Germanic  populations  mentioned 
by  Beda  and  other  writers  as  having  taken  part 
in  the  Anglo-Saxon  invasions  of  Great  Britain 
actually  did  so ;  it  will  also  inquire  whether 
certain  other  populations  not  so  mentioned  may 
not,  nevertheless,  have  joined  in  those  inva- 
sions, although  their  share  in  them  has  been  un- 

The  Jutes. — Did  Jutes,  rather  than  Angles  or 
any  other  allied  population,  effect  the  conquest 
and  occupancy  of  parts  of  Hampshire  and  the 
Isle  of  Wight  as  they  are  said  to  have  done  ? 

Let  us  suppose  the  case  of  an  American  archaeo- 
logist, in  the  absence  of  any  authentic  history, 
reasoning  about  the  origin  of  the  three  popula- 
tions of  Plymouth,  New  Jersey,  and  Portsmouth, 
three  populations  lying  within  no  great  distance 
of  each  other.  He  knows  that,  as  a  general  rule, 
they  are  to  be  deduced  from  England  ;  and  he 
studies  the  map  of   England  accordingly.      On 


the  south-coast  he  finds  a  Jersey,  which  he  rea- 
sonably infers  is  the  Old  Jersey,  the  mother- 
country  of  the  Americans  of  the  New.  He  also 
finds  a  Plymouth,  from  which  he  draws  the  same 
equally  reasonable  inference.  Lastly,  he  sees  a 
town  named  Portsmouth — and  here  he  repeats 
his  reasoning — reasoning  which  is  eminently  logi- 
cal, cogent,  and  apparently  conclusive.  It  passes 
without  challenge  or  objection,  and  the  origin 
of  the  three  populations  gradually  loses  its  in- 
ferential character,  and  assumes  that  of  a  fact 
founded  upon  evidence.  A  writer  who  adopts 
his  views,  perhaps  the  very  writer  himself,  more- 
or  less  unconsciously,  next  believes  that  his  doc- 
trine has  an  historical  rather  than  a  logical  basis, 
and  it  passes  for  a  fact  founded  upon  records,  or 
at  least  on  tradition.  In  such  a  case  a  sentence 
like  the  following  might  easily  be  written — 
"they"  (viz.,  the  populations  of  New  Jersey,  Ply- 
mouth, and  Portsmouth)  "came  from  three  of 
the  more  powerful  populations  of  England,  i.  e., 
those  of  Jersey,  Plymouth,  and  Portsmouth. 
From  those  of  Jersey  came  the  men  of  New 
Jersey,  from  those  of  Plymouth  the  men  of  Ply- 
mouth, and  from  those  of  Portsmouth  the  men 
of  the  parts  so-called."  I  say  that  such  a  sen- 
tence might  be  written,  might  pass  as  a  fact,  and 
whether  fact  or  not,  would  contain  an  argument 
so  legitimate  as  to  stand  against  nine  hundred 

234  THE  JUTES   OF 

and  ninety-nine  objections  out  of  a  thousand. 
Yet  the  thousandth  might  set  it  aside,  since  cer- 
tain facts  might  have  been  overlooked. 

What  if  the  name  of  an  original  Indian  tribe 
had  been  Jersey  (or  some  name  like  it),  or  Ports- 
mouth, or  Plymouth?  The  chances,  I  admit,  are 
against  such  an  occurrence.  But  what  if  it  really 
happened?  It  cannot  be  denied  that  it  would 
materially  shake  the  inference.  Nay  more,  how- 
ever much  that  inference  took  the  guise  of  a 
tradition  or  record,  it  would  shake  the  state- 
ment of  the  author  who  made  it,  however  unex- 

Still  the  doctrine  might  be  correct,  and  not 
only  correct,  but  capable  of  having  its  correctness 
demonstrated.  Let  the  name  in  question  be  the 
one  last  mentioned — New  Jersey.  Let  the  Old 
Jersey  people  of  England  be  like  those  of  Ply- 
mouth, but  different  from  them  in  some  de- 
finite characteristics.  Let  those  characteristics 
reappear  in  the  New  Jersey  men  of  America.  In 
such  a  case,  the  exceptions  taken  to  the  statement 
from  the  present  existence  of  an  aboriginal  In- 
dian population  called  Nujersi  (for  such  we 
will  suppose  the  name  to  be)  would  fall  to  the 

But  what  if  no  ethnological  acuteness,  no  ety- 
mological sagacity,  no  minute  analysis  of  names, 
traditions,  or  dialect  had  ever  succeeded  in  de- 


tecting  such  differentiae,  so  that,  despite  of  the 
endeavours  of  learned  antiquarians,  the  men  of 
New  Jersey  could  not  be  shewn  to  differ  from 
those  of  Plymouth  and  Portsmouth,  whilst  all  the 
while  the  Old  Jersey  men  did  so  differ.  In  such 
a  case  the  objection  that  was  originally  taken 
from  the  previous  name  of  the  Indian  tribe  would 
stand  valid. 

Mutatis  mutandis,  this  applies  to  Beda's  state- 
ment concerning  the  Jutes — the  statement  being 
as  follows: — "Advenerant  autem  de  tribus  Ger- 
manise populis  fortioribus,  id  est  Saxonibus,  An- 
glis,  Jutis.  De  Jutarum  origine  sunt  Gantuarii 
et  Vectuarii,  hoc  est  ea  gens,  quae  Yectam  tenet 
insulam,  et  ea,  quae  usque  hodie  in  provincia  Occi- 
dentalium  Saxonum  Jutarum  natio  nominatur, 
posita  contra  ipsam  insulam  Vectam.  De  Sax- 
onibus, id  est  ea  regione,  quae  nunc  antiquo- 
rum  Saxonum  cognominatur,  venere  Orientates 
Saxones,  Meridiani  Saxones,  Occidui  Saxones. 
Porro  de  Anglis,  hoc  est  de  ilia  patria,  quae  An- 
gulus  dicitur  et  ab  eo  tempore  usque  hodie  ma- 
nere  desertus  inter  provincias  Jutarum  et  Saxo- 
num perhibetur,  Orientates  Angli,  Mediterranei 
Angli,  Mercii,  tota  Nordhumbrorum  progenies,  id 
est  illarum  gentium,  quae  ad  boream  Humbri  flu- 
minis  inhabitant,  ceterique  Anglorum  populi  sunt 
orti/ —  Beda  1,  15. 

Angles,    Saxons,   and  Jutes   occurred   within 



comparatively  narrow  limits  in  Great  Britain, 
and,  within  equally  narrow  limits,  Angles,  Saxons, 
and  Jutes  occurred  in  Northern  Germany  and 

The  Angles  of  England  undoubtedly  came  from 
Germany;  so  did  the  Saxons. 

But  did  the  Jutes  ?  Let  us  look  to  the  differ- 
ent forms  their  name  took;  and  also  to  those  of 
that  of  the  Jutes  of  Jutland ;  and,  when  we  have 
seen  that  occasionally  they  both  took  the  same, 
let  us  ask  whether  the  objection  which  has  just 
been  suggested  against  the  supposed  American 
speculations  do  not  apply  to  the  real  English 

The  Jutes  of  England  were  called  Jutna-cyn, 
or  the  Jute-kin;  their  locality  was  the  Isle  of 
Wight,  and  from  that  island  they  were  called 
WHit-ware,  ~Pec£-ienses  or  Vecti-coldd.  Beda  him- 
self identifies  these  two  populations,  saying  that 
the  Vect-uarii  ( Wiht-tvare),  "  who  held  the  Isle 
of  Wight,  were  of  Jute  origin."  And,  lest  this 
be  insufficient,  both  the  Anglo-Saxon  Chronicle 
and  Alfred  repeat  (or  rather  translate)  the  asser- 
tion : —  -, 

Of  Jotum  comon  Cantware 
and  Wihtware,  \>set  is  seo 
niaeia'S,  be  nti  eardeb  on  Wiht, 
and  that  cynn  on  West-Sexum 
"Se  man  gyt  hart  Jutnacynn. 

Of  Jutes  came  the  Kent- 
people,  and  the  Wiht-people, 
that  is  the  race  which  now 
dwells  in  Wiht,  and  that  tribe 
amongst  the  West-Saxons  which 
is  yet  called  the  Jute  tribe. 


Comon  di  of  brym  folcum 
J?a  strangestan  Germanise  ;  t>£et 
of  Seaxurn,  and  of  Angle,  and 
of  Geatum ;  of  Geatum  fruman 
sindon  Cant-wsere  and  Wiht- 
ssetan,  hset  is  seo  J>eod  se  Wiht 
J>at  ealond  on  eardaft. 

Came  they  of  three  folk  the 
strongest  of  Germany ;  that  of 
the  Saxons,  and  of  Angle,  and 
of  the  Geats.  Of  the  Geats  ori- 
ginally are  the  Kent-people  and 
the  Wiht-settlers,  that  is  the 
people  which  Wiht  the  Island 
live  on. 

Now  this  name  Wiht  never  came  from  the 
Jutes  at  all;  since  it  existed  three  hundred  years 
before  their  supposed  advent,  as  the  word  Vectis 
=  the  Isle  of  Wight;  and  was  a  British,  rather  than 
a  German,  term 

And  the  Wiht-ware  were,  partially  at  least,  no 
Germans  but  Britons,  and  as  Britons,  rather  than 
as  Jutlanders,  did  they  stand  in  contrast  with 
the  Saxons  of  the  neighbourhood.  The  proof  of 
this  is  in  Asser,  who  says  that  Alfred's  mother 
"  Osburg  nominabatur,  religiosa  nimium  faBmina, 
Nobilis  ingenio,  nobilis  et  genere  ;  quae  erat  filia 
Oslac — qui  Oslac  Gothus  erat  natione,  ortus  enim 
erat  de  Gothis  et  Jutis ;  de  semine  scilicit  Stuf  et 
Wihtgar — qui  accepta  potestate  Vectis  Insulae — 
paucos  Britannos,  ejusdem  insulse  accolas,  quos  in 
ea  in  venire  potuerant,  in  loco  qui  dicitur  Gwiti- 
garabibvgh  occiderunt,  caeteri  enim  accolse  ejusdem 
insulse  ante  sunt  occisi  aut  exules  auiugerant." — 
Asserius,  De  Gestis  Alfredi  Regis. 

So  that  Gwit-garaburg  is  now  Caris-brook,  and 

238  THE  JUTES   OF 

Caris-brook  in  the  time  of  Stuf  and  Wihtgar,  was 
the  last  stronghold  of  the  Gwitce,  Vitce,  Vecticolce 
or  Vectienses,  who  were  simply  Britons  confounded 
with  Jut-ce. 

Who  then  were  the  Jutnacyn,  who  lived  in 
Hampshire,  as  opposed  to  those  of  Carisbrook  in 
the  Isle  of  Wight  ?  I  imagine,  without  pressing 
the  point,  or  supposing  that  anything  important 
depends  on  it,  that  they  were  the  Exules  of 
Asser,  the  remnants  who  escaped  from  the  exter- 
minating swords  of  Stuf  and  Wihtgar,  in  their 
conquest  of  the  island.  That  they  existed  in  the 
time  of  Beda  is  true  ;  not  however  as  Danes  from 
Jutland,  but  as  Britains  from  the  land  of  the 

I  do  not  profess  to  say  why  there  was  the 
double  form  Vit,  and  Jut — nor  should  I  have 
identified  them  myself.  It  is  not  I  who  have 
done  this,  but  Beda  and  Alfred ;  as  must  be  ad- 
mitted by  any  one  who  cannot  shew  a  difference 
between  the  Wiht-ware  and  the  Jutna-cyn — both 
authors  deriving  each  from  the  Jutes. 

Neither  can  I  say  how  Jutland  came  to  be 
called  V r it-land  ;  I  can  only  say  that  the  change 
is  no  assumption.  In  a  document  of  A.D.  952  we 
find  it  so  called — Dania  Cismarina  quam  V it- 
land  appellant. — See  Zeuss  in  v. 

As  stated  above,  all  this  falls  to  the  ground  if 
any  separate  substantive  reasons  for  considering 

KENT.  231) 

the  Wild-ware  to  be  Jutlanders  can  be  shewn. 
But  such  are  wanting.  If  either  they  or  the  Jut- 
nacyn  of  the  opposite  coast  of  Hants  were  Danes 
in  the  time  of  Alfred  and  Beda,  where  were  the 
signs  of  their  origin.  Not  in  their  language  ; 
since  no  mention  is  made  of  the  Danish  in  Beda's 
list  of  British  tongues.  Not  in  the  names  of  geo- 
graphical localities.  Neither  -ware,  nor  -burgh, 
(in  Gwith  -wara  -burg)  are  Danish  terms.  Where 
are  such  signs  now?  The  Danish  termination  for 
towns  and  villages  is  -by.  There  is  no  such  end- 
ing in  either  Hampshire  or  the  Isle  of  Wight. 

Did  Jutes  rather  than  Angles  or  any  other 
allied  population  effect  the  conquest  and  occu- 
pancy of  Kent,  as  they  are  said  to  have  done  ? 

It  is  only  the  Jute  origin  of  the  Jutnacyn  or 
Wihtware  of  Hants  that  the  preceding  reasoning 
impugns.  The  Jute  origin  of  the  Cantware,  or 
people  of  Kent,  is  a  separate  question. 

I  only  suspect  error  here  :  the  reasons  for  doing 
so  being  partly  of  a  positive,  partly  of  a  negative 
nature  : — 

1.  As  far  as  traditions  are  worth  anything,  they 
make  Hengist  a  Frisian  hero. 

2.  No  name  of  any  Kentish  King  is  Danish. 

3.  No  Danish  forms  for  geographical  localities 
occur  in  the  county. 

That  the  Kentish  population  has  certain  pecu- 
liarities is  highly  probable;    and  it  is  also  pro- 



bable  that  similar  peculiarities  on  the  part  of  tl 
population  of  Hants  brought  the  two  within  the 
same  category.  And  hence  came  the  extension  of 
the  Jute  hypothesis  to  the  Cantware. 

Were  there  Frisians  in  England  ? — The  pre- 
sumption is  in  favour  of  the  affirmative ;  since  the 
Frisians  were  eminently  the  occupiers  of  the  Ger- 
man sea-coast. 

Again — 

1.  A  native  tradition  makes  Hengist  a  Frisian. 

2.  Procopius  writes  that  "  three  numerous  na- 
tions occupy  Brittia — the  Angili,  the  Phrissones, 
and  the  Britons." — B.  G.  iv.  20. 

3.  In  one  of  Alfred's  engagements  against  the 
Danes  the  vessels  are  said  to  have  been  "  shapen 
neither  like  the  Frisian  nor  the  Danish/'  and  that 
there  were  killed  in  the  engagement  "  Wulf  heard 
the  Frisian,  and  iEbbe  the  Frisian,  arid  iEthelhere 
the  Frisian — and  of  all  the  men,  Frisians  and 
English,  seventy-two/' — Anglo-Saxon  Chronicle, 
A.D.  897. 

In  Mr.  Kemble's  "  Saxons  in  England,"  a  fresh 
instrument  of  criticism  is  exhibited.  A  local 
name  like  that  of  the  present  town  of  Kettering 
is  in  Anglo-Saxon  Cytringas.  Here  the  -as  is 
the  sign  of  the  plural  number,  and  the  -ing-  a 
sort  of  Anglo-Saxon  patronymic,  or,  (if  this  ex- 
pression be  exceptional)  a  Gentile  form.  Hence, 
Cytr-ing-as  means  the  Gytrings,  and  is  the  name 

FORMS  IN  -ING.  241 

of  a  community — i.e.,  it  is  a  political  or  social 
rather  than  a  geographical  term. 

Now  nearly  two  hundred  such  terms  occur  in 
the  Anglo-Saxon  Chartas  as  names  of  places. 

But  besides  the  simple  form  in  -ing  (Anglo- 
Saxon  -ing-as)  there  is  a  series  of  compounds  in 
-wic,  -ham,  -weorft,  -tun,  -hurst,  &c.,  as  Bi\\-ing, 
Billing-/iam,  BiWmg-hay,  Billing-froroi^,  Billing- 
-ford,  Billing-£o?i,  Billing-^;?/,  Billings-(/aie,  Billing 
hurst,  &c.,  most  of  which  it  is  safe  to  say  mean 
the  -hurst,  the  -town,  &c,  of  the  Billings.  Now — 

1.  The  distribution  of  these  forms,  either  simple 
or  compound,  over  the  counties  of  England  is  as 
follows.     There  are  in — 

York,  127 ;  Norfolk,  97  ;  Lincolnshire,  76  ;  Sus- 
sex, 68  ;  Kent,  60  ;  Suffolk,  56  ;  Essex,  48  ;  North- 
umberland, 48  ;  Gloucester,  46  ;  Somerset,  45  ; 
Northampton,  35  ;  Shropshire,  34  ;  Hants,  33  ; 
Oxford,  31  ;  Warwick,  31  ;  Lancashire,  26  ;  Che- 
shire, 25  ;  Wilts,  25  ;  Devon,  24  ;  Bedford,  22  ; 
Berks,  22 ;  Nottingham,  22  ;  Cambridge,  21  ; 
Leicester,  19  ;  Durham,  19  ;  Stafford,  19  ;  Surrey, 
18  ;  Bucks,  17  ;  Huntingdon,  16  ;  Hereford,  15  ;. 
Derby,  14 ;  Worcester,  13 ;  Middlesex,  12  ;  Hert- 
ford, 10  ;  Cumberland,  6  ;  Rutland,  4 ;  West- 
moreland, 2  ;  Cornwall,  2  ;  Monmouth,  0. 

In  valuing  this  list  the  size  of  the  county 
must  be  borne  in  mind.  Subject  to  this  qualifi- 
cation, the  proportion  of  the  forms  in  -ing,  is  a 



measure  of  the  Germanism  of  the  population.  It 
is  at  the  maximum  in  Kent  and  Norfolk,  and  at 
the  minimum  in  Cornwall  and  Monmouth. 

2.  The  simple  forms  (e.g.,  Billings)  as  opposed 
to  the  compounds  (Billing-/^;?/)  bear  the  following 





In  Essex  as 
„  Kent    . 
„  Middlesex 
„   Hertford 
„  Sussex. 
„   Surrey 
„  Berks  . 
„   Norfolk 
„  Suffolk 
„  Hants 
„  Hunts  . 
„  Lincolnshire 
„   Yorkshire 
„   Bedfordshire 
„  Lancashire 

Now  the  simple 










In  Northumberl.  as  4 
Nottinghamsh.  3 
Northamptonsh.  3 
Derbyshire  .  2 
Dorsetshire  .  2 
Cambridgeshire  2 


Oxfordshire  . 
Bucks  .  . 
Devonshire  . 
Wilts  .  .  . 
Shropshire  . 






forms  Mr.  Kemble  considers 
to  have  been  the  names  of  the  older  and  more 
original  settlements  with  the  "  further  possibility 
of  the  settlements  distinguished  by  the  addition 
of  -helm,  -wic,  and  so  forth,  to  the  original  names, 
having  being  filial  settlements,  or,  as  it  were, 
colonies,  from  them." — Saxons  in  England,  i.  479. 
3.  The  same  names  appear  in  different  locali- 
ties, e.g.  : 

iEscings  in   Essex,  Somerset,  Sussex. 
Alings      „    Kent,  Dorset,  Devon,  Lincoln. 

FOKMS  IN  -ING.  2-43 

Ardings  in   Sussex,  Berks,  Norths. 
Arlings    „    Devon,  Gloster,  Sussex. 
Banings    „    Herts,  Kent,  Lincoln,  Salop. 
Beddings  „    Norfolk,  Suffolk,  Surrey,  Sussex, 
Isle  of  Wight,  &c. 

This  leads  to  the  doctrine  that  either  one  com- 
munity was  deduced  from  another,  or  that  both 
were  deduced  from  a  third ;  this  being  more 
especially  the  case  when — 

4.  The  name  is  found  in  Germany  as  well  as  in 
Britain.     This  happens  with — 

The  Walsingas         inferred  from  Walsing-ham, 

„  Harlingas  „  Harliag, 

„  Brentingas  „  Brenting-hj, 

„  Scyldingas  „  SJcelding, 

„  Scylfingas  „  Shilving-ton 

„  Ardingas  „  Arding-worth. 

„  Heardingas  „  Harding-ham. 

„  Baningas  „  Banning-ham. 

„  Tliyringas  „  Thoring-ton,  &c. 

If  all  these  names  are  to  be  found  not  only 
in  Germany  but  in  the  Angle  part  of  it,  the  cur- 
rent opinion  as  to  the  homogeneous  character  of 
the  Anglo-Saxon  population  stands  undisturbed. 
Each,  however,  is  found  beyond  the  Angle  area, 
and  so  far  as  this  is  the  case,  we  have  an  argu- 
ment in  favour  of  our  early  population  having 
been  slightly  heterogeneous. 





In  the  Anglo-Saxon  Chronicle  we  find  the  fol- 
lowing notices: — "This  year  King  Beorhtric  took 
A.D.  to  wife  Eadburg,  King  OfiV s  daughter ;  and 
787.  in  his  days  first  came  three  ships  of  North- 
men, out  of  Hseretha-land.     And  then  the  reeve 
rode  to  the  place,  and  would  have  driven  them  to 
the  king's  town,  because  he  knew  not  who  they 
were;  and  they  there  slew  him.    These  were  the 
first  ships  of  Danish-men  which  sought  the  land 
of  the  English  race/'     Again : — 
A#D.       "This  year  dire  forewarnings  came  over 
793.  the  land  of  the  North-humbrians,  and  mise- 
rably terrified  the  people ;  these  were  excessive 
whirlwinds,  and   lightnings ;   and  fiery  dragons 
were  seen  flying  in  the  air.     A  great  famine  soon 
followed  these  tokens :  and  a  little  after  that,  in 
the  same  year,  on  the  6th  of  the  Ides  of  Janu- 
ary,  the   ravaging  of  heathen   men  lamentably 
destroyed  God's  church  at  Lindisfarn,  through 


rapine  and  slaughter.  And  Siega  died  on  the 
8th  of  the  Kalends  of  March." 

After  this  the  notices  of  the  formidable  Danes 
become  numerous  and  important.  But  it  is  not 
in  the  pages  of  history  that  the  influence  of  their 
invasions  is  to  be  found.  The  provincial  dia- 
lects of  the  British  Isles,  the  local  names  in  the 
map  of  Europe,  the  traditions  and  (in  some 
cases)  the  pedigrees  of  the  older  families  are  the 
best  sources. 

If  we  study  the  local  names  of  Germany  and 
Scandanavia,  we  shall  find  that  when  we  get 
North  of  the  Eyder  a  change  takes  place.  In 
Sleswick  the  compound  names  of  places  begin  to 
end  in  -gaard,  -shov,  and  -by;  in  -by  most  espe- 
cially, as  Oster-by,  Wis-by,  Gammel-%,  Nor-by, 
&c.  In  Jutland  the  forms  in  -by  attain  their 
maximum.  They  prevail  in  the  islands.  They 
prevail  in  Sweden.  They  are  rare  (a  fact  of  great 
importance)  in  Norway.  In  Germany  they  are 
either  non-existent  or  accidental.  In  respect  to 
its  meaning,  by  =  town,  village,  settlement ;  and 
By-en  =  the  town,  is  a  term  by  which  Christiania 
or  Copenhagen — the  metropoles  of  Norway  and 
Denmark — are  designated.  Such  forms  as  Kir- 
ton,  Nor-ftm,  and  New-ton  in  German,  would  in 
Danish,  be  Kir-by,  Nor-by,  New-by. 

Now  the  distribution  of  the  forms  in  -by  over 
the  British  Isles  has  the  same  import  as  its  distri- 



bution  in  Germany  and  Scandinavia.  It  indi- 
cates a  Danish  as  opposed  to  a  German  occupancy. 
Again — the  Anglo-Saxon  forms  are  Church  and 
Ship,  as  in  Dxm-church  and  Ship-ton ;  whereas 
the  Danish  are  Kirk  and  Skip,  as  in  Orms-kirk 
and  Skip-ton.  The  distribution  of  these  forms 
over  the  British  Isles  closely  coincides  with  that 
of  the  compounds  in  -by. 

With  these  preliminaries  we  will  follow  the 
lines  which  are  marked  out  by  the  occurrence  of 
the  places  in  -by;  beginning  at  a  point  on  the 
coast  of  Lincolnshire,  about  half-way  between  the 
entrance  to  the  Wash  and  the  mouth  of  the  Hum- 
ber ;  the  direction  being  south  and  south-west. 
Ander-by  Creek,  Wi\loug-by  Hills,  Mum-by,  Or- 
by,  Ir-by,  Firs-by,  Reves-%,  Conings-%,  Ewer-fo/, 
Asg&r-by*  Span-fr?/,  Dows-by,  Duns-%,  Hacon- 
by*  Tlmrl-by,  Carl-%*  take  us  into  Rutlandshire, 
where  we  find  only  Gvun-by  and  Hoo-by.  Neither 
are  they  numerous  in  Northamptonshire  ;  Canons' 
Ash-by,  Cates-%,  and  Bad-%  giving  us  the  out- 
line of  the  South-eastern  parts  of  their  area.  For 
Huntingdon,  Cambridge,  and  Beds,  nothing  ends 
in  -by,  whilst  the  other  forms  are  in  sh,  and  ch 
— as  Charlton,  Shelton,  Chesterton  rather  than 
Carlton,   Skelton,    Casterton.      Leicestershire 


*  These  are  Danish  forms  throughout — Asgar-,  Hacon-,  and 
Carl-  being  as  little  Anglo-Saxon  as  -by.  Carl-by  in  Anglo-Saxon 
would  be  Cliarl-ton. 

FORMS   IN   -BY.  247 

full  of  the  form,  as  may  be  seen  by  looking  at 
the  parts  about  Melton,  along  the  valleys  of 
the  Wreak  and  Soar ;  but  as  we  approach  War- 
wickshire they  decrease,  and  there  is  none  south 
of  Hug-by.  More  than  this,  the  form  changes  sud- 
denly, and  three  miles  below  the  last  named  town 
we  have  Dun-church  and  Co&ch-b&tch.  Tradi- 
tion, too,  indicates  the  existence  of  an  old  March 
or  Debateable  Land  ;  for  south  of  Hug-by  begins 
the  scene  of  the  deeds  of  Guy  Earl  of  Warwick, 
the  slayer  of  the  Dun  Cow.  Probably,  too,  the 
Bevis  of  Hampton  was  a  similar*  North-amp- 
£o7i-shire  hero,  notwithstanding  the  claim  of  the 
town  of  Southampton. 

The  line  now  takes  a  direction  northwards  and 
passes  through  Bretby  (on  the  Trent)  to  Derby, 
Leicestershire  being  wholly  included.  And  here 
the  frontier  of  the  forest  which  originally  covered 
the  coal-district  seems  to  have  been  the  western 
limit  to  the  Danish  encroachments,  Rotherham, 
Sheffield,  and  Leeds  lying  beyond,  but  with  the 
greater  part  of  Nottinghamshire  and  a  large  part 
of  Derby  within,  it.  In  Yorkshire  the  East 
Riding  is  Danish,  and  the  North  to  a  great  ex- 
tent; indeed  the  western  feeders  of  the  Ouse 
seem  to  have  been  followed  up  to  their  head- 
waters, and  the  watershed  of  England  to  have 
been   crossed.      This    gives   the    numerous  -by 8 

*  Nortk-awra-ton-shire. 


FORMS   IN   -BY. 

in  Cumberland  and  Westmoreland*  —  Kirk-%, 
Apple-%,  &c. 

So  much  for  the  very  irregular  and  remarkable 
outline  of  the  area  of  the  forms  in  -by  on  its 
southern  and  western  sides.  In  the  north-east  it 
nearly  coincides  with  the  valley  of  the  Tees — 
nearly  but  not  quite  ;  since,  in  Durham,  we  have 
Ra-%,  Sela-&2/,  and  Hum-by.  The  derivatives  of 
castra,  on  the  other  hand,  are  in  -ch-;  e.g.,  Eb- 
cA-ester,  (7Aester-le-street,  Lanc/iester  (Lan-caster). 
In  Northumberland  there  are  none. 

I  look  upon  this  as  the  one  large  main  Danish 
area  of  Great  Britain,  its  occupants  having  been 
deduced  from  a  series  of  primary  settlements  on 
the  Humber.  It  coincides  chiefly  with  the  water- 
system  of  the  Trent,  makes  Lincolnshire,  and  the 
East  Riding  of  Yorkshire  the  mother-countries, 
and  suggests  the  notions  that,  as  compared  with 
the  Humber,  the  rivers  of  the  Wash,  and  the 
river  Tees  were  unimportant.  The  oldest  and 
most  thoroughly  Danish  town  was  Grimsby.  The 
settlements  were  generally  small.  I  infer  this 
from  the  extent  to  which  the  names  are  com- 
pounded of  -by  and  a  noun  in  the  genitive  case 
singula!*  (Candel-s-by,  Grim-s-%,  &c).  Danish 
names  such  as  Thorold,  Thurkill,  Orme,  &c,  are 
eminently  common  in  Lincolnshire ;  and,  at  Grims- 

*  Also  Caster-ton  =  Chester-ton.  The  numerous  forms  in 
thicaithe  are  shewn  by  Mr.  Worsaae  to  be  Norse. 

FORMS  IN  -BY.  249 

by,  a  vestige  of  the  famous  Danish  hero  Havelok 
is  still  preserved  in  Havelok-street.  On  the  other 
hand,  the  number  of  Danish  idioms  in  the  pro- 
vincial dialects  is  by  no  means  proportionate  to 
the  preponderance  of  the  forms  in  -by.  In  Lin- 
colnshire it  is  but  small,  though  larger  in  York- 
shire and  Cumberland. 

The  extent  to  which  the  rivers  which  fall  in 
the  Wash  are  not  characterized  by  the  presence  of 
forms  in  -by  is  remarkable.  The  Witham  and 
Welland  alone  (and  they  but  partially)  have  bys 
on  their  banks.     Again — 

Just  above  Yarmouth,  between  the  Yare,  the 
North  River  and  the  sea,  is  a  remarkable  congrega- 
tion of  forms  in  -by.  These  are  more  numerous  in 
this  little  tract  than  the  rest  of  Norfolk,  Suffolk, 
and  Essex  together — Mault-%,  Orms-by*  (doubly 
Danish),  ~H.emes-by,  &c.  This  may  indicate  either 
a  settlement  direct  from  Scandinavia,'  or  a  second- 
ary settlement  from  Lincolnshire. 

However  doubtful  this  may  be,  it  is  safe  to 
attribute  the  -bys  on  the  West  of  England,  to  the 
Danes  of  Cumberland  and  Westmoreland,  the 
Danes  of  the  Valley  of  the  Eden.    These  spread — 

A.  Northwards,  following  either  the  coast  of 
Galloway  or  the  water-system  of  the  Annan, 
Locker-6^6,  &c. — 

*  Doubly  Danish  :  the  Anglo-Saxon  form  of  Orm  being 

250  FORMS   IN   -BY. 

B.  Westwards  into  the  Isle  of  Man — 

C.  Southwards  into — 

a.  Cheshire,  Lancashire,  and  Carnarvonshire 
(Orms-he&d),  always,  however,  within  a  moder- 
ate distance  of  the  sea — Horn-by,  Orms-kirk* 
Whit-%,  Ire-by,  Hels-%,  &c. — 

b.  Pembrokeshire ;  where  in  ~H.&ver-ford  andMil- 
ford  the  element  ford  is  equivalent  to  the  Danish 
Fiord,  and  the  Scotch  Firth,  and  translates  the 
Latin  word  sinus — not  vadum.  Guard-  in  Fish- 
guard  is  Danish  also ;  as  are  Ten-by  and  Harold- 

Such  is  the  distribution  of  one  branch  of  the 
Scandinavians,  viz.  :  those  from  Jutland,  the 
Danish  Isles,  and  (perhaps)  the  South  of  Sweden. 
That  of  the  Norwegians  of  Norway  is  different. 
Shetland,  the  Orkneys,  Caithness,  and  Suther- 
land, the  Hebrides,  and  Ireland,  form  the  line  of 
invasion  here.  In  Man  the  two  branches  met — 
the  Danish  from  the  east,  and  the  Norwegian  from 
the  north  and  east. 

The  numerous  details  respecting  the  Scandina- 
vians in  Britain  are  to  be  found  in  Mr.  Worsaae's 
"  Danes  and  Northmen  "  and,  besides  this,  the 
proof  of  the  distinction  just  drawn  between  the 

*  Doubly  Scandinavian :  the  Anglo-Saxon  form  would  be 
Worm-church.  Generally  in  compounds  of  this  kind  the  Danish 
form  Kirk  is  a  prefix,  the  Anglo-Saxon  church  an  affix ;  e.  g., 
KirJc-bj,  OS-church. 

FORMS   IN   -BY.  251 

Danes  of  South  Britain  and  the  Norwegians  of 
Scotland,  the  Hebrides  and  Ireland.  It  lies  in 
the  phenomena  connected  with  the  form  -by. 

a.  Common  as  they  are  in  Denmark  and  Sweden, 
they  are  almost  wholly  wanting  in  Norway. 

b.  Common  as  are  other  Scandinavian  elements, 
the  forms  in  -by  are  almost  wholly  wanting  in 
Scotland  and  Ireland. 

Hence — Northman  or  Scandinavian  means  a 
Dane  in  South  Britain,  a  Nomvegian  in  Scotland 
and  Ireland,  and  a  Dane  or  Norwegian,  as  the  par- 
ticular case  may  be,  in  the  Isle  of  Man,  Northum- 
berland, and  Durham.  This  is  well  shewn,  and 
that  for  the  first  time,  in  the  valuable  work 
referred  to. 

Can  this  analysis  be  carried  further  ?  Probably 
it  can.  Over  and  above  the  consideration  of  the 
Frisians  of  Friesland,*  there  is  that  of  the  North- 
Frisians.-f*  Some  of  these  may  easily  have  formed 
part  of  the  Scandinavian  invasion.  The  nearest 
approach  to  absolute  evidence  on  this  point  is 
to  be  found  in  the  East  Riding  of  Yorkshire  ; 
where  in  Holdernesse  we  have  the  Frisian  forms 
News-om,  Holl-T/m,  Arr-am,  and  the  compound 
Fris-marsh.  The  Leicestershire  Fris-%  is  more 
evidently  iVor^-Frisian. 

Again,  a  writer  who,  like  the  present,  believes 
that,  until  a  comparatively  recent  period,  South 
*  See  p.  240.  t  See  p.  177,  &c. 



Jutland,  the  Danish  Isles,  and  the  South  of 
Sweden,  at  least,  were  Sarmatian,  is  justified  in 
asking  whether  members  of  this  stock  also  may 
not  have  helped  to  swell  the  Scandinavian  host. 
The  presumption  is  in  favour  of  their  having 
done  so;  the  a  posteriori  evidence  scanty.  Two 
personages  of  our  popular  mythology,  however, 
seem  Slavonic — Old  Bogy  and  Old  Scratch.  Bog 
in  Slavonic  is  God,  or  Daemon;  so  that  Czerne- 
bog  =  Black  God,  and  Biele-bog  =  White  God; 
whereas  no  Gothic  interpretation  is  equally 

Old  Scratch  is  the  Hairy  one,  or  Pilosus,  as 
his  name  is  rendered  in  the  glosses.  In  Bohe- 
mian we  have  the  forms  scret,  screti,  scretti,  skr'et, 
s'kr'jtek  =  demon,  household  god;  in  Polish,  skrzot 
and  skrzitek ;  in  Slovenian,  shkrdtie,  shkrdtely. 
On  the  other  hand,  in  the  Old  High  German, 
the  Icelandic,  and  some  of  the  Low  German 
dialects,  the  word  occurs  as  it  does  in  English. 
Still  the  combination  of  sounds  is  so  Slavonic, 
and  the  name  is  spread  over  so  great  a  por- 
tion of  the  Slavonic  area,  that  I  look  upon  it 
as  essentially  and  originally  belonging  to  that 

The  ethnological  analysis  of  the  Scandinavians 
is  one  question  ;  the  date  of  their  first  invasion, 
another.  The  statements  of  the  Anglo-Saxon 
Chronicle  opened  the  present  chapter.     Is  there 

THE  PICTS.  253 

reason  to  criticize  them  ?  For  the  fact  of  Danes 
having  wintered  in  England  A.D.  787  they  are 
unexceptionable.  For  the  fact  of  their  having 
never  done  so  before,  they  only  supply  the  un- 
satisfactory assertion  of  a  negative. 

For  my  own  part  I  should  not  like  to  deny 
the  presence  of  Scandinavians  in  certain  parts  of 
Great  Britain,  even  at  the  very  beginning  of  the 
Historical  period.  That  this  was  the  case  with 
Orkney  and  Shetland  few,  perhaps,  are  inclined 
to  deny.  But  the  gloss  dal*,  combined  the  ex- 
ception which  can  be  taken  to  the  words  penn 
fahel,-f  gives  a  probability  to  the  Scandinavian 
origin  of  the  Picts  which  has  not  hitherto  been 
generally  admitted — the  present  writer,  amongst 
others,  having  denied  it. 

When  the  Britons  had  occupied  the  greater 
part  of  the  Island  they  were  met  by  the  Picts 
from  Scythia.  It  was  not,  however,  on  any  part 
of  Great  Britain  that  the  Picts  first  landed. 

It  was  on  the  north  coast  of  Ireland,  then  held 
by  Scots.  But  the  Scots  had  no  room  for  them, 
so  they  told  them  of  the  opposite  island  of 
Britain,  and  recommended  them  to  take  posses- 
sion of  it ;  which  was  done  accordingly.  "  And 
as  the  Picts  had  no  wives,  and  had  to  seek  them 
from  the  Scots,  they  were  granted  on  the  sole 
condition,  that  whenever  the  succession  became 
*  See  p.  226.  t  See  p.  229. 



doubtful,  the  female  line  should  be  preferred  over 
the  male  ;  which  is  kept  up  even  now  amongst 
the  Picts."  This  peculiarity  in  the  Pict  law  of 
succession  is  interesting  ;  and  as  Beda  speaks  to 
it  as  a  cotemporary  witness,  it  must  pass  as  one 
of  the  few  definite  facts  in  the  Pict  history.  An- 
other statement  of  true  importance  is,  that  the 
Scriptures  were  read  in  all  the  languages  of 
Great  Britain;  there  being  five  in  number:  the 
Latin,  the  Angle,  the  British,  the  Scottish,  and 
the  Pict 

Could  this  Pictish  have  been  Scandinavian,  a 
language  closely  allied  to  the  Anglo-Saxon,  with- 
out Beda  knowing  it  ?  I  once  answered  hastily 
in  the  negative,  but  the  fact  that  he  actually 
overlooks  the  Gothic  character  of  the  word  dal 
(=  pars),  has  modified  my  view. 

On  the  other  hand,  their  deduction  from  Scythia 
goes  for  nothing.  The  text  which  supplied  Beda 
with  his  statement  has  come  down  to  us,  though, 
unfortunately,  with  three  different  readings.  It 
is  from  Gildas,  and  seems  to  be  one  of  that 
author's  least  happy  attempts  at  fine  writing. 

He  calls  the  German  Ocean  the  Tithic  Valley, 
or  the  Valley  of  Tithys  (Thetis  ?).  In  one  out  of 
the  two  MSS.  which  deviate  from  the  form  Ti- 
thecam  Vallem,  the  reading  is  Aticam,  and  in  the 
other  Styticam.  I  give  the  texts  of  Gildas  in  full. 
They  may  serve  to  shew  his  style : — "  Itaque  illis 

THE  PICTS.  255 

ad  sua  remeantibus,  emergunt  certatim  de  curu- 
cis,  quibus  sunt  trans  Tithecam  vallem  vecti, 
quasi  in  alto  Titane  incalescente  caumate  de 
aridissimis  foraminuin  cavernulis  fusci  vermicu- 
lorum  cenei,  tetri  Scotorum  Pictorumque  greges, 
moribus  ex  parte  dissiclentes,  et  una  eademque 
sanguinis  fundendi  aviditate  Concordes,  furcife- 
rosque  magis  vultus  pilis,  quam  corporum  pu- 
denda pudendisque  proxima  vestibus  tegentes, 
cognitaque  condebitorum  reversione,  et  reditus 
denegatione,  solito  confidentius,  omnem  Aquilo- 
naleni  extremamque  terra3  partem,  pro  indigenis 
muro  tenus  capessunt." — Historia,  §.  15. 

But,  perhaps,  Gildas  readily  wrote  Scythica ; 
for  there  was  a  reason,  as  reasons  went  in  the 
sixth  century,  for  his  doing  so.  It  was,  probably, 
the  following  lines  in  Virgil : — 

"  Aspice  et  extremis  domitum  cultoribus  orbem, 
Eoasque  domos  Arabum,  pictosque  Gelonos." — G-.  xi.  115. 

That  either  Gildas  or  Beda  knew  of  the  line  or 
translated  it  as  if  the  Picts  were  Geloni  cannot  be 
shewn ;  but  that  an  author  uot  very  much  later 
than  Beda  did  so  is  shewn  by  the  following  ex- 
tract from  a  Life  of  St.  Vodoal,  written  about  the 
beginning  of  the  tenth  century — "The  Blessed 
Vodoal  was  (as  they  say)  sprung  from  the  arrow- 
bearing  nation  of  the  Geloni,  who  are  believed  to 
have  drawn  their  origin  from  Scythia.     Concern- 



ing  whom,  the  poet  writes  Pictosque  Gelonos;  and 
from  that  time  till  now  they  are  called  Picts."* 
Sagittiferi  is  as  Virgilian  as  the  word  Picti — 

"  Hie  Nomadum  genus  et  discinctos  Mulciber  Afros, 
Hie  Lelegas,  Carasque  sagittiferosque  Gelonos 
Finxerat." — Aen.  viii.  725. 

Another  element  in  the  reasoning  upon  the 
date  of  the  earliest  Scandinavians  is  the  fact  that 
more  than  one  enquirer  has  noticed  in  the  no- 
menclature of  a  writer  so  early  as  Ptolemy,  words 
with  an  aspect  more  or  less  Scandinavian — e.g., 
Ar-beia,  Leucopi-6i-um,  Vand-uarii  (Aqui-cola?), 
Zose-ius  fluvius  ( =  Salmon  River),  and,  perhaps, 
some  others. 

To  argue  that  there  were  Scandinavians 
amongst  us  in  the  second  century,  because  cer- 
tain words  were  Norse,  and  then  to  infer  the 
Norse  character  of  the  words  in  question  from  the 
presence  of  Scandinavians  is  a  vicious  circle  from 
which  we  must  keep  apart.  At  the  same  time, 
the  insufficiency  of  the  early  historians  to  give  a 
negative,  the  oversight  of  Beda  in  respect  to  the 
word  dal,  and  the  exceptions  which  can  be  taken 
to  the  gloss  penn  fahel,  are  all  elements  of  im- 
portance. The  present  writer  believes  that  there 
were  Norsemen  in  Britain  anterior  to  A.D.  787, 
and  also  that  those  Norsemen  may  have  been 
the  Picts. 

*  From  Mabillon. — Zeuss,  p.  198. 


The  Danish  and  Norwegian  subjects  of  Canute 
give  us  a  direct,  the  Normans  of  William  the 
Conqueror  an  indirect,  Scandinavian  element. 

"  The  latest  conquerors  of  this  island  were  also 
the  bravest  and  the  best.  I  do  not  except  even 
the  Romans.  And,  in  spite  of  our  sympathies 
with  Harold  and  Hereward,  and  our  abhorrence 
of  the  founder  of  the  New  Forest  and  the  deso- 
lator  of  Yorkshire,  we  must  confess  the  superi- 
ority of  the  Normans  to  the  Anglo-Saxons  and 
Anglo-Danes,  whom  they  met  here  in  1066,  as 
well  as  to  the  degenerate  Frank  noblesse,  and 
the  crushed  and  servile  Romanesque  provincials, 
from  whom,  in  912,  they  had  wrested  the  district 
in  the  north  of  Gaul,  which  still  bears  the  name 
of  Normandy/'  * 

This  leads  us  to  the  analysis  of  the  blood  of 
the  Norman,  or  North-man.  Occupant  as  he  is 
of  a  country  so  far  south  as  Normandy,  this  is  his 
designation ;  since  the  Scandinavians  who  in  the 
eighth,  ninth,  and  tenth  centuries  ravaged  Great 
Britain,  extended  themselves  along  the  coasts  of 
the  Continent  as  well.  And  here  they  are  sub- 
ject to  the  same  questions  as  the  Scandinavians 
of  Lincolnshire,  Scotland,  and  the  Isle  of  Man. 
They  are  liable  to  being  claimed  as  Norwegians, 
and  liable  to  be  claimed  as  Danes ;  they  may  or 

*  The  Fifteen  Decisive  Battles  of  the  World.— By  Prof.  Creasy, 
— Hastings. 


they  may  not  have  had  forerunners  ;  their  blood, 
if  Danish  rather  than  Norwegian,  may  have  been 
Jute  or  it  may  have  been  Frisian;  they  may 
have  been  distinct  from  certain  allied  conquerors 
known  under  the  name  of  Saxon,  or  they  may  be 
the  Saxons  of  a  previous  period. 

They  seem,  however,  in  reality,  to  have  been 
Norwegians  from  Norway  rather  than  Danes  from 
Jutland  and  the  Danish  Isles ;  Norwegians,  un- 
accompanied by  females,  and  Norwegians  who 
preserve  their  separate  nationality  to  a  very  in- 
considerable extent.  They  formed  French  alli- 
ances, and  they  adopted  the  habits  and  manners 
of  the  natives.  These  were,  from  first  to  last, 
Keltic  on  the  mother's  side ;  but  on  that  of  the 
father,  Keltic,  Roman,  and  German.  That  this 
latter  element  was  important,  is  inferred  from  the 
names  of  the  Ducal  and  Royal  family:  William, 
Richard,  Henry,  &c,  names  as  little  Scandinavian 
as  they  are  Roman  or  Gallic. 

Hence,  the  blood  of  even  the  true  Norman  was 
heterogeneous  ;  whilst  (more  than  this)  the  army 
itself  was  only  partially  levied  on  the  soil  of 
Normandy — Bretons,  who  were  nearly  pure  Kelts, 
Flemings  who  were  Kelto  -  Germans,  and  Wal- 
loons who  were  Kelto-German  and  Roman,  all 
helped  to  swell  the  host  of  the  Conqueror.  W^hat 
these  effected  at  Hastings,  and  how  they  appro- 
priated the   country,  is   a  matter  for  the  civil 


rather  than  the  physical  historian  ;  the  distribu- 
tion of  their  blood  amongst  the  present  English- 
men being  a  problem  for  the  herald  and  genea- 
logist. The  elements  they  brought  over  were 
only  what  we  had  before — Keltic,  Roman,  Ger- 
man, and  Norse.  The  manner,  however,  of  their 
combination  differed.  There  was  also  a  slight 
variation  in  the  German  blood.  It  was  Frank 
rather  than  Angle. 

*  *  *  * 

Kelts,  Romans,  Germans,  and  Scandinavians, 
then,  supply  us  with  the  chief  elements  of  our 
population,  elements  which  are  mixed  up  with 
each  other  in  numerous  degrees  of  combination ; 
in  so  many,  indeed,  that  in  the  case  of  the  last 
three  there  is  no  approach  to  purity. 

However  easy  it  may  be,  either  amongst  the 
Gaels  of  Connaught,  or  the  Cambro- Britons  of 
North- Wales,  to  find  a  typical  and  genuine  Kelt, 
the  German,  equally  genuine  and  typical,  whom 
writers  love  to  place  in  contrast  with  him,  is  not 
to  be  found  within  the  four  seas,  the  nearest  ap- 
proach being  the  Frisian  of  Friesland. 

It  is  important,  too,  to  remember  that  the  mix- 
ture that  has  already  taken  place  still  goes  on;  and 
as  three  pure  sources  of  Keltic,  without  a  corre- 
sponding spring  of  Gothic,  blood  are  in  full  flow, 
the  result  is  a  slow  but  sure  addition  of  Keltic 
elements  to  the  so-called  Anglo-Saxon  stock, 



elements  which  are  perceptible  in  Britain,  anc 
which  are  very  considerable  in  America.     Th( 
Gael  or    Briton  who  marries  an  English  wife 
transmits,  on  his  own  part,  a  pure  Keltic  straii 
whereas  no  Englishman  can  effect  a  similar  infu- 
sion of  Germanism — his  own  breed  being  moi 
or  less  hybrid. 

The  previous  pages  have  dealt  with  the  retro- 
spect of  English  ethnology.  The  chief  questioi 
in  the  prospect  are  the  one  just  indicated  and 
the  effects  of  change  of  area  in  the  case  of  the 


T.  E.  Metcalf,  Printer,  63,  Snow  Hill. 


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